LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, May 25, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released this statement following the announcement by the United States Departments of Labor and Homeland Security that they will make available 22,000 additional H-2B visas for FY 2021:
“The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) applauds the announcement by the United States Departments of Labor and Homeland Security that they will release an additional 22,000 H-2B visas for FY 2021. For Kentucky’s racetracks and horse breeding operations, H-2B visas are a vital part of their workforce as Kentucky’s horse industry faces perpetual labor shortages.
“However, these additional visas are not a substitute for a necessary overhaul of the H-2B visa program to meet the needs of our horse industry. KEEP will continue to call on the United States Congress to address the vast shortages of H-2B visas in future immigration legislation.
“In addition to advocating for smart and sensible immigration reforms to address the Kentucky horse industry’s labor shortages, KEEP has invested heavily in promoting career opportunities within the industry to Kentuckians in order to create a homegrown workforce. This partnership with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center has already yielded industry-changing initiatives and KEEP will continue investing in this critical work.”
The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry. KEEP is committed to ensuring Kentucky remains the horse capital of the world, including educating Kentuckians and elected officials of the importance of the horse industry to the state. KEEP was the driving force in the establishment of the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund, which has paid out more than $177 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $50 million to purses and more than $24 million to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
KEEP works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates. To learn more about how you can become a member or support our work, please visit www.horseswork.com.