In Effort to Fill Vacant High-Tech Jobs, Southern Kentucky Collaboration Takes Shape

By Joe Corcoran WKU Public Radio - Jan 27, 2016

man working on auto assembly lineA new collaborative effort in Warren County is looking to train workers to fill high-tech manufacturing jobs in the region.

The South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center includes businesses, schools, employment agencies and non-profits.

The center will train up to 16 people at a time at South Central Kentucky Community and Technical College. Courses are to begin at the center Feb. 2.

Students will take a 12-week course focusing on the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Greg Head is vice-president of the manufacturer Davert USA, which has a location in Bowling Green. He says the collaboration has to overcome stereotypes about manufacturing.

"The dark ages are over. The equipment that we have in our manufacturing plants requires someone with STEM curriculum. Head says high-tech employers are looking for workers who can see the holistic picture.

A 2013 report issued by area businesses said the south-central Kentucky region will have 4,500 hundred job openings in manufacturing-related fields by the end of this year.

That number is expected to double to 9,000 by 2020.

The school s Vice-President for Outreach, Jim McCaslin, says students will learn skills that will make them attractive to area manufacturers.

"I hear people talking in restaurants saying, I want to go work in this place, or that place--because they know what kind of salary it pays. This will give them all the entry-level information they need to get their foot in the door."