Lexington, KY. Friday, October 14, 2022 – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that it released an additional 64,716 H-2B visas to meet labor demands for FY 23:
KEEP commends the Department of Homeland Security for releasing an additional 64,716 H-2B visas to meet the labor demands for FY 23. KEEP has long been a member of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, which urges Congress to increase the statutory cap on H-2B visas to meet the demands on the program. However, short of action by Congress to address this issue, this announcement by the Department of Homeland Security is much needed to ensure a robust workforce in non-agriculture fields.
Kentucky’s horse industry relies on H-2B workers at tracks and training operations to meet the labor needs of the growing industry. The unreliable nature of the H-2B visa program is part of the reason why KEEP and the KEEP Foundation started the Equine Workforce Initiative in 2019. This initiative is working with industry stakeholders to create a talent pipeline and offer career pathways for more Kentuckians to work in the Commonwealth’s signature industry. Learn more about the Equine Workforce Initiative at: www.thekeepfoundation.org/initiative/.
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 $40 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.