Grads commit to going pro

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Students graduating from Kentucky community and technical colleges will be “going pro” in manufacturing careers.

All 16 colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) celebrated the first ever Kentucky Manufacturing Going Pro Signing Day on May 17. More than 2,200 new KCTCS graduates signed on with employers to begin their careers in advanced manufacturing. They’ll work in fields such as industrial maintenance, computerized machining and manufacturing, and engineering and electronics technology.

KCTCS partnered with the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) on the event.

Gov. Matt Bevin was on hand for the signing day at Jefferson Community and Technical College, where more than 20 students celebrated getting hired.

“I commend KCTCS and KAM for spotlighting these in-demand careers and for designing opportunities like this to showcase the ambition and drive of these exceptional students,” Bevin said. “We are excited to celebrate this occasion, and we look forward to seeing these young men and women take Kentucky to new heights as America’s center for engineering and manufacturing excellence.”

KCTCS has more than 300 advanced manufacturing partners statewide and 135 business partners who offer work and learn experiences through the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME). In the last year, the system prepared more than 2,400 graduates to “go pro in high-paying, in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing that lead to a better life,” according to a press release.

“Right now, there are thousands of open positions in advanced manufacturing, and employers are having difficulty filling these jobs because of a lack of trained workers,” KCTCS President Jay K. Box said. “KCTCS is the solution to this because we offer relevant programs based on what employers tell us they need. We’re also looking at innovative ways to get our students trained and into the workforce faster.”

At Bluegrass Community and Technical College, 24 graduates signed with employers Montaplast and Toyota.

“We are so proud of our students for the hard work they have put in preparing for their new careers,” BCTC President Koffi Akakpo said. He also thanked the business partners.

Meanwhile, at Somerset Community College, Toyotetsu, American Woodmark, CMS, Hendrickson and Tarter Farm & Ranch Equipment welcomed graduates to their companies. And at an event at Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC), 11 companies and 17 students were recognized.

“Currently in Kentucky there are more than 8,000 career openings in manufacturing. It is vital that we continue to work with our manufacturing partners developing a pipeline of skilled workers to support our region and state. Only through our continued efforts can we hope to close the employment gap,” OCTC President Scott Williams said. “Because of the partnerships with the colleges and industry these students were prepared to walk out of college and into an in-demand, high paying career.”

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.