Innovative Partnership Prepares Students, Creates Workforce Pipeline, Tackles Rising Healthcare Costs, Saving Lives.

The Work Ready Incubator is a partnership between Thomas More College and Gravity Diagnostics, a genomic and toxicology laboratory that was established in 2016, which conducts testing that serves as an effective medical monitoring program aimed at decreasing the impact to the community caused by the misuse and overdosing of controlled substances, while also reducing the cost to the healthcare system. The Incubator is a talent pipeline that allows an employer to directly recruit Thomas More College students and alumni to fill a variety of workforce requirements. In 2016, about the same time Gravity Diagnostics was setting up shop in Covington, the Bevin Administration introduced the Work Ready Skills Initiative. The $100 million statewide bond program was aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of employers.

Bevin said, “It’s really a private-private partnership between a private college and a private company to say, ‘how can we be part of the solution. That is the whole point. It’s how are we preparing young people to become 21st century virtuous citizens, the integral parts of their community.”

President of Thomas More College, David Armstrong said Gravity Diagnostics was a great fit because the company had gone from a staff of 4 to 70 employees in a short time and was looking for a way to recruit and train its workforce. “We said, we can help you with that,” Armstrong said.

Remington said the growth of Gravity Diagnostics, and his own experiences entering the workforce, convinced him the Incubator concept could benefit the company and the students. Gravity could evaluate students’ skills and their fit in the company’s culture, and the students could similarly gain invaluable exposure to careers of interest to them.

“We are big on this opioid epidemic that we are facing nationally and the money, $78 billion in costs,” Remington said. “We believe there is a way to take our testing and implement that in a cost-effective way, to not only reduce the health care costs, but to help people and save lives.” Bevin said it’s easy to kind of gloss over the work being done at Gravity Diagnostics, but it is critical to finding a solution to the scourge of opioid addiction. It is equally impressive, Bevin said, that the work is being done through a partnership that is helping to redefine collaborative efforts with institutions of higher learning.