Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Launches On Track Motorsports Education Initiative with Warren County ATC, SKYCTC, WKU, and Holley Performance Products

Published Friday, September 11, 2015

 BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – September 11, 2015 – Today, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, launched the On Track motorsports education initiative, in partnership with the Warren County Area Technology Center, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Western Kentucky University and Holley Performance Products.

 Earlier this year, the Chamber, in partnership with the Bowling Green Economic Development Authority, purchased two second-generation Chevrolet Camaros from Holley and donated them to Warren County Area Technology Center and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.  During the 2015-16 school year, students will completely rebuild the cars using multiple educational disciplines, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). During this process, industry experts will work closely with students and faculty to aid in the development of the cars as well as the curriculum. In 2016, the cars will compete in the Holley LSFest Grand Champion competition, while also being judged on their business/marketing plan as well as their use of STEM educational principles.

 “This collaborative approach involves Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Business, Automotive, and Welding standards.  This mixture of theory and real-life application will provide kinesthetic learners with the opportunity to learn academic standards while actually touching and experiencing the "why" they need to know a particular concept,” said Eric Keeling, Warren County ATC principal. “This initiative will inspire excitement and passion for students who are interested in all things automotive.”

 The Warren County Tech Center will establish build team partners in each of their sectors, collaborating with each of the feeder schools.  Greenwood High School will provide the Science team, South Warren High School will provide the Business team, Warren Central High School will provide the Physics team, Warren East High School will provide the Math team, and Bowling Green Independent Schools will provide additional Marketing services for the build team.  At present, Cannon, Shiloh, SCA, and Bowling Green Metal Forming have offered representatives to serve as mentors.  Dr. Greg Arbuckle of Western Kentucky University's Engineering Department is serving as the Engineering advisor.  Kim Phelps and Meredith Robinson of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce will advise the Marketing team.

 “The last few months have been both exciting and confirming.  The community support for On-Track has been over-whelming.  This confirms the importance of the program to the area and that as a community we are on the right track,” said Chris Cumens, vice president of finance and administration at SKYCTC. 

 “With over 4,000 manufacturing job openings anticipated in 2016, the On Track initiative will help stimulate the development of highly-skilled talent for the future workforce of South Central Kentucky,” said Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “I’m eager to be a part of this pioneering endeavor.”

 The On Track initiative is a crucial piece of the Chamber’s commitment to the development of talent for the future workforce of South Central Kentucky. According to the 2013 Urgent Call to Action study, South Central Kentucky will have 9,000 job openings in manufacturing alone by 2020. The On Track initiative introduces STEM concepts in a practical setting that will help develop a highly skilled talent pipeline for South Central Kentucky.

 According to Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch, “The On Track initiative plays an important role in workforce development in South Central Kentucky.  Through this initiative, students will not only learn valuable skills in the STEM disciplines, but they will also be introduced to automotive career pathways and opportunities they may not have thought possible.  The motorsports community is strong in South Central Kentucky and we are delighted to be able to support an initiative that will train future workers to support and grow our automotive manufacturing industry.”

 “The motorsports and automotive industries are an important part of the fabric of South Central Kentucky. I am pleased to witness the realization of an initiative connecting the growth of our economic development and setting high education standards on a national level,” said Mike Buchanon, Warren County Judge-Executive.

 For those businesses and individuals who wish to receive more information, or be involved in the On Track initiative, we are seeking monetary and product donations as well as mentors. For more information, contact Kim Phelps at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce by calling 270-901-4611 or emailing kim@bgchamber.com.

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 About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region. Learn more about South Central Kentucky’s advantages at http://www.southcentralky.com/.