Across Kentucky, employers, educators and community organizations are turning their attention to the manufacturing sector, one of the commonwealth’s most significant job creators and economic engines.
October is Manufacturing Month in Kentucky and Oct. 2 is the fourth annual national Manufacturing Day. The designation gives manufacturers an opportunity to increase awareness of modern manufacturing, the skills it relies on and the career opportunities it offers.
Manufacturing Month is also an opportunity for our communities to work together to learn about and help address the skills gap manufacturers face.
“More baby boomers are leaving the workforce and not enough young people are coming into the field,” said Greg Bernard, president of Mid-Park, a Grayson County manufacturer. Bernard addressed community leaders at a recent Grayson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where elected officials proclaimed Manufacturing Week in Grayson County.
Bernard said manufacturers nationwide are able to find the talent they need to fill just four of every 10 open positions.
The shortage is in part rooted in a lack of understanding of today’s innovation-driven manufacturing sector. Contemporary manufacturing careers are high-paying, interesting and challenging, and they can encompass industrial maintenance, engineering, chemistry, physics, robotics, computer technology and more.
These vast opportunities mean demand is high for technically and analytically skilled workers with the right training and professional skills.
Employers are striving to showcase what these careers can offer: career longevity, high salaries and variation. Particular methods include exposing younger students to manufacturing and supporting education and training initiatives in high-demand fields.
Narrowing the manufacturing skills gap is not only an important matter for employers and employees in the sector, but also for local economic development. As we work together to ensure prosperity and job creation in the manufacturing sector, we help ensure the quality of life throughout our region.
Manufacturing is a critical economic driver, both locally and nationally. Throughout Kentucky, the manufacturing sector employed more than 232,000 people last year, accounting for more than 12 percent of the workforce, according to a National Association of Manufacturers report. What’s more is that in the eight-county Lincoln Trail district, manufacturing has accounted for about 20 percent of the workforce.
Additionally, we are seeing established companies grow and new companies locate in our region, bringing even more opportunities to the local workforce.
The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board, works diligently with employers and employees alike. Our goal is to create a pipeline of employees with the skills our employers need to succeed and grow in the Lincoln Trail region.
We work with manufacturing employers in Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties as well as training and education partners throughout the region on an ongoing basis, maintaining a broad, up-to-date understanding of the sector’s talent needs and career pathways.
With locations throughout the region, our job seeker and business services teams can help with everything from job postings to training programs to customized services.
As Manufacturing Month approaches, employers, educators and other community organizations are encouraged to contact the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail location nearest them to learn more about efforts underway in their communities.
Carter Dyson is One Stop Director for Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. He can be reached at (270) 766-5115 or email@example.com.