United Way of Southern Kentucky announced today that Chris Dressler has officially been named as Director of the Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center assuming this role as of January 9th. This announcement comes on the heels of the retirement of previous 2-1-1 Contact Center Director Norm Wheeler who served as Director for one year during the initial planning phases of the center and official launch in July of 2016.

Dressler brings more than 20 years experience to the position with expertise in college and career readiness, training, mentoring, and volunteer management previously holding the position of Program Advisor/ College Coach Supervisor with the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). Prior to serving in this role, Dressler also served as Senior Outreach Counselor for KHEAA.  

Dressler is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Masters of Arts in Leadership Dynamics and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis. Dressler serves as Chair for Bowling Green City School’s Board of Education and Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education’s Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Local School Board Member Advisory Council (LSBMAC and Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA).

In her role as 2-1-1 Contact Center Director, Dressler will provide strategic and operational direction for UWSK’s 2-1-1 Contact Center which serves a 10 county region; oversee 2-1-1 efforts in improving lives by connecting families and individuals with needed assistance; ensure UWSK’s 2-1-1 Contact Center complies with United Way’s quality assurance guidelines and the operational standards set-forth by Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) a professional membership association for community Information and Referral (I&R) and Information and Referral/ Assistance (I&R/A) providers.

Debbie Hills, President & CEO of United Way of Southern Kentucky, states, “The extensive background that Chris brings in certification/accreditation processes will be a tremendous asset as we complete the upcoming AIRS accreditation process for 2-1-1.  Chris also brings strong management expertise in complex programs and a network of contacts and relationships throughout our ten-county area which will benefit the program as we continue to promote and expand services.  We are fortunate to have Chris leading our 2-1-1 Contact Center going forward and are thrilled to welcome her to our team.”

2-1-1 is a three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services and it easy to remember. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, identify available resources and provide information concerning appropriate programs, services, support and intervention. Instead of multiple calls that lead to dead ends, one call to 2-1-1 can reach a trained call center specialist who can assess a caller’s need and match them with the appropriate resource provider.

Prior to establishing a 2-1-1 Contact Center in Southern Kentucky, Kentucky was one of only three states with less than 43% coverage for 2-1-1 services.  However, United Way has managed to increase coverage in Kentucky for 2-1-1 services through the introduction of UWSK’s 2-1-1 Contact Center in July of 2016. Now, residents of Southern Kentucky can call 2-1-1 and receive a compassionate person on the other end of the line who can provide informational resources that assist families and improve our community one call at a time.  Callers may obtain information concerning shelter vacancies, utility assistance, intervention programs for drug addiction and or assistance for aging parents.  2-1-1 can help when you don’t know where to go and need assistance.

2-1-1 also allows service providers, funders, and other stakeholders the opportunity to assess community needs at any given time.   Demographic information collected during a call provides insight on how to improve and make our human services delivery system better.

2-1-1 is core to United Way’s mission and is an integral component to Community Impact. United Way of Southern Kentucky decided to bring 2-1-1 to Southern Kentucky after an extensive community research project that included 5,000 surveys and over 50 community conversations.  Through this process, we discovered that people don’t know where to go to get the help when they need it.

Since its inception on July 18, 2016, UWSK’s 2-1-1 Call Center has received over 3,700 calls looking for utility, food, shelter and or transportation assistance.

“I’m honored to be named United Way of Southern Kentucky’s 2-1-1 Contact Center Director,” says Dressler. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with a committed Board of Directors and a dynamic staff whose talents will no doubt be vital as we move forward in obtaining AIRS accreditation for Southern Kentucky’s 2-1-1 Contact Center.  This certification is required for receiving state subsidies, and it is the recognized standard for all information and referral services at the state level and nationally.  The process will measure many factors of the 2-1-1’s effectiveness and will conclude with a thorough onsite assessment. While the process is lengthy and will require a thorough review of the 2-1-1 database along with an anonymous observation of the 2-1-1 delivery of information and referral services, I am confident this accreditation will produce sustainable outcomes for United Way of Southern Kentucky as we continue efforts to expand services in Southern Kentucky.”

For more information about Southern Kentucky 2-1-1, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at