Job Shortages

The tables below show the top three occupations that are projected from 2018-2028 of Kentucky employers based on the level of education they require. There is a state minimum wage of $7.25 in Kentucky. The one highlighted occupation under each of the three education levels has been selected to expand on in terms of potential career advancement.


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Potential Career Advancement

1) Food Preparation Worker to Certified Food Manager

Food Preparation Worker Job Description: 

  • Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking 

Entry Level Requirements:  

  • Food Handler Certification – not required by Kentucky state law, but required in Bullitt, Estill, Fayette, Nelson, Breathitt, Jessamine & Franklin county within 30 days of hire 
  • Obtain Food Handler Certification online here ($7, 2 hours); click here to take exam in Español, 普通话, 한국어, Việt, American Sign Language, Tagalog, Serbo-Croatian

Certified Food Manager Job Description: 

  • Responsible for food safety to protect the public from foodborne illness 

Career Advancement Requirements:  

  • Pass the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certification exam ($55)
  • Online courses are not required, but provide knowledge for the ANSI exam

2) Bookkeeping, Accounting & Audit Clerks to Accountant & Auditor

Bookkeeping, Accounting & Audit Clerk Job Description: 

Entry Level Requirements:  

  • Certification is not required by Kentucky law, but an associate’s degree is generally preferred 
  • Accounting training programs in Kentucky are listed here 

Accountant & Auditor Job Description: 

  • Analyze financial information and prepare financial reports on activities in an organization 

Career Advancement Requirements:  

  • A Bachelor’s degree with Accounting concentration
  • At least 1 year of accounting experience 
  • Pass the CPA exam
  • Social security number is required, but there is no citizenship or residency requirement

3) Registered Nurse to Nurse Practitioner

Registered Nurse Job Description: 

  • Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and administer nursing care 

Entry Level Requirements:  

  • Complete a state-approved nursing program  
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) exam ($200)

Nurse Practitioner Job Description: 

  • Diagnose and treat patients independently or as part of a healthcare team 

Career Advancement Requirements:  

  • Earn a graduate degree in a chosen nursing specialization  
  • Become nationally certified by an accredited agency & apply for license in Kentucky
  • List of online nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky are found here

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Immigration in Kentucky

The following are facts about the immigrant community in Kentucky: 

  • Immigrants comprise  4% of the state population and 5% of the Kentucky labor force 
  • Top industries of immigrant employment: 
    • Manufacturing, 22,777 workers 
    • Retail Trade, 15,648 workers 
    • Accommodation and Food Services, 14,910 workers 
    • Construction, 10,657 workers 
    • Health Care and Social Assistant, 10,361 workers 
  • 11,238 immigrant business owners account for 6% of all self-employed Kentucky residents
  • 41% of immigrants in Kentucky are naturalized and another 22% are undocumented
  • Top foreign-born countries of origin:
    • Mexico, 16% 
    • Cuba, 7% 
    • China, 6% 
    • India, 5% 
    • Honduras, 4% 
  • 3% of native-born Kentuckians are children of an immigrant
  • Educational attainment of foreign-born adults in Kentucky:
    • High School diploma or less – 48
    • More than HS diploma, less than Bachelor’s degree – 19
    • Bachelor’s degree or higher – 33









* Share of immigrant professionals, who are unemployed, employed at poverty-level wages in High School diploma or less jobs, or significantly underemployed in more than HS diploma, less than Bachelor’s degree jobs


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Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), Projections Central – State Occupational Projections, “Long Term Occupational Projection (2018-2028)”; 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates;  

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, “Education and training assignments by detailed occupation,” 2019;  

National Council of State Legislatures, “State Minimum Wages”, December 2020; 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, “Employees on Nonfarm Payrolls by State, Seasonally adjusted”, November 2020;  

Potential Career Advancement 

National Conference of State Legislatures, “The National Occupational Licensing Database”, March 2020:  


American Immigration Council, State by State Fact Sheet, August 2020;

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