Kentucky Electricians chelovek/iStock/Getty Images

License to Survive

Like the rest of the country, Kentucky is in the midst of a skilled labor shortage. Its unique approach to solving the problem has divided the state’s electrical industry and raised serious questions about whether it could — or should — be attempted elsewhere.

Whitney Westerfield has just arrived in St. Paul, Minn. — a long way from his home state of Kentucky — and he sounds tired. Friendly, but tired. Over the next few days in late June, the attorney and state senator from Kentucky’s 3rd District will attend a criminal justice conference, but right now, as he settles into his hotel room, he’s preparing to talk about the electrical industry. “Where do you want to start?” he asks, with a soft, easygoing drawl.

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