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WORK MATTERS: Career centers focus on advanced manufacturing training

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A column by Sherman Bowman, Kentucky Career Center

The Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board and the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail are pleased to announce a new training program to help both job seekers and employers in one of our region’s most promising job sectors – advanced manufacturing.

Through a grant-funded initiative, called Kentucky Career Center Get Opportunity (KCCGO), we’ve developed intensive, no-cost training to help up to 90 job seekers start or re-enter their career in manufacturing.

Manufacturing is one of the most significant industries in our region, representing thousands of jobs. In some counties, manufacturing represents at least one of every five jobs.

What’s more is that many of our manufacturers are looking for talent right now, opening up new opportunities to earn competitive wages in technology-driven career paths. We want to equip job seekers with the skills they need to take advantage of these opportunities.

And benefiting employers, the program will build an industry-specific pipeline of quality candidates who not only have the right skills and knowledge, but also have displayed a commitment to professional development.

The KCCGO program, with instruction provided by Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Workforce Solutions, starts with the Ready, Set, Go! This weeklong seminar includes soft skills training, job search workshops, informative sessions about career and technical training opportunities in our region and skills testing. For example, participants will have the opportunity to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate, a nationally recognized predictor of workplace success that will help them stand out among job candidates.

We’re collaborating with employers across the region that have provided input for the training and will be on hand at the conclusion of Ready, Set, Go! to interview candidates for current and future openings.

Participants who are not hired at the end of the seminar may continue to build their skills with either Certified Production Technician training or On the Job training.

Certified Production Technician training is a four-week program that covers safety, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing process and production, and maintenance awareness. Job seekers will attain the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in an entry-level production environment, and they’ll have an opportunity to earn credentials endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers as well as the Manufacturing Institute.

On the Job training participants will report to work as any other employee. But during their training period, up to six months, the employer will be reimbursed at least half the trainee’s pay. It’s a great way to offset the cost of training a new employee and ensuring the job seeker is developing the exact skills they need to thrive on the job.

We’re excited about the results KCCGO could bring to job seekers and employers.

For job seekers, it’s a no-cost avenue to improve skills and become more competitive. Plus, personal coaching from our workforce experts will help provide additional support. The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail staff can even connect job seekers to resources for overcoming barriers like child care and transportation.

For employers, we’ve structured KCCGO to meet the needs area manufacturers have expressed. That means when they hire a KCCGO candidate, they’re hiring someone who is ready to succeed in the workplace and make their business more competitive.

KCCGO will be offered at the ECTC campuses in Elizabethtown, Leitchfield and Springfield. Training in Elizabethtown and Leitchfield will begin in March, with Springfield sessions starting in May.

Classes are forming now and orientation sessions will begin soon at career centers in Leitchfield, Elizabethtown and Bardstown. Orientation sessions will be available at the Lebanon career center closer to the start of KCCGO at ECTC’s Springfield campus.

If you’re interested in starting a career in manufacturing or if your business would like to know more about how you can take part in KCCGO, call the Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail location nearest you.

Sherman Bowman is a workforce facilitator with Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, which is overseen by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board. He can be reached at (270) 766-5115 or sherman.bowman@ky.gov.