Across the country, communities will turn their attention to the vitally important manufacturing sector on Oct. 2, Manufacturing Day. Here in Kentucky, October is Manufacturing Month.
It’s a time dedicated to overcoming challenges shared by manufacturers, the most pressing of which is the skills gap.
Grayson County, one of the eight counties of the Lincoln Trail region, kicked off its annual spotlight on manufacturing Thursday at the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon. At the luncheon, local officials signed a proclamation recognizing Manufacturing Week in Grayson County and Mid-Park President Greg Bernard addressed chamber members.
“More baby boomers are leaving the workforce and not enough young people are coming into the field,” Bernard said. Manufacturers nationwide are able to find the talent they need to fill just four of every 10 open positions, he said.
This shortage of qualified employees in part stems from a lack of understanding of today’s manufacturing sector and the high-paying career opportunities it offers.
At Mid-Park and many other manufacturers, there’s a demand for welders, fitters, machinists, tool and die makers and robotics programmers.
A key strategy to narrowing the manufacturing skills gap is exposing students to the sector and its career opportunities through partnerships between schools and employers. Bernard noted the strength of such partnerships Grayson County. During Grayson County’s Manufacturing Week, Sept. 25 through Oct. 1, Grayson County Schools students will see local industry displays, hear from guest speakers representing the manufacturing sector, take field trips to plants and more.
Such partnerships are year-round, Bernard said, noting how Mid-Park worked with Grayson County Schools officials to develop the Computerized Manufacturing and Machining Program and that school officials meet with area manufacturers throughout the year.
“The Grayson County plant managers get together once a quarter,” he said. “At every meeting, the superintendent or assistant superintendent is in attendance so they know what our needs are and what they can do to get students prepared.”