Some manufacturers in Louisville say they can’t find enough workers with the right skills.
On Wednesday, Mayor Greg Fischer joined industry leaders and educators to launch a new jobs initiative to train local workers for skilled manufacturing jobs.
Fischer, president of Jefferson Community and Technical College Tony Newberry and corporate leaders announced the partnership to create an advanced manufacturing program. The partnership will initially involve 12 area manufacturers and will combine an apprentice-style education and training program.
Newberry said the JCTC advanced manufacturing center will train workers for “jobs that didn’t exist five years ago.”
“With the co-op, you’re able to come out with little to no debt, and that is a big factor that Kentucky FAME can promote with this program,” said college student Marly Jenkins.
Jenkins is studying advanced manufacturing at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington.
The Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education is bringing that same program to JCTC as part of a strategy to address a shortage in advanced manufacturing workers.
“Manufacturing is on a super-rebound in this country. We kind of learned some mistakes of the off-shoring that started taking place 10 or 20 years ago, now we’re re-shoring,” Fischer said.
Chip Blankenship, GE Appliances president and CEO, said the center will address a shortage of skilled advanced manufacturing workers.
Blankenship said graduates of advanced manufacturing training program can get good-paying jobs with little to no college debt.
Manufacturers have added more than a half-million jobs since the recession, according to federal data.
Many require workers to operate advanced machinery.
These jobs pay $17 to $27 per hour.
The manufacturing federation said some jobs pay as much as $80,000 per year.
“We are seeing that our graduates with two-year degrees are earning first-year wages that really exceed that of bachelor’s degree recipients of universities in our area,” Newberry said.
The co-op style advanced manufacturing program will recruit at high schools and job fairs.
Students will be paired with companies so they can get on-the-job training while they obtain their two-year degree.
The program is expected to start in the fall with 18 to 22 students.
College officials said they are looking for funding for a $46.5 million advanced manufacturing training center at the downtown campus.
Source: WLKY Louisville