As part of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce’s Targeted Business and Industry Appreciation Month, seven manufacturers hosted facility tours for 180 area high school students allowing the businesses to showcase their innovative products and processes and to introduce the students to their company culture and career opportunities. The exposure to modern manufacturing aligns with the Chamber’s efforts prepare students for college or careers as they learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and other essential workplace skills.
Throughout the month, students from the Warren County Area Technology Center, Bowling Green High School, and Adair County High School were treated to VIP tours of Warren County manufacturing facilities where they saw various production techniques and learned about some of the exciting work that takes place in South Central Kentucky.
Companies that opened their doors to local students included:
- LORD Corporation
- Davert North America
- Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC
- Stupp Bridge Company
- American Howa Kentucky
- Berry Plastics Corporation
- The Sun Products Corporation
According to Warren County ATC Principal Eric Keeling, “I would like to thank the manufacturers who took time out of their schedule to show our kids what they do. Being able to link the lessons they are learning in school with a productive career path is key to keeping their interest and commitment to their studies. Activities like these tours are invaluable.”
“Visiting the companies was such wonderful experience for our students,” said Destiny O’Rourke, College and Career Readiness Coach at Bowling Green High School. “They were able to see first-hand what careers in the manufacturing industry look like and got to ask plenty of questions. Having the HR personnel speak provided extra value because they talked about what soft skills our students should be striving to achieve. Going on these tours was a great step toward busting perceptions about manufacturing work and helping our students gather information for themselves about the many opportunities that exist in the manufacturing industry. I wish I could take every one of our students on tours like the ones we experienced!”
With these tours, the Chamber hopes to increase public awareness of the impact of these businesses as well as the career pathways and local job opportunities available in these sectors. With over 900 open positions available in manufacturing in Warren County alone, connecting students with businesses is the perfect opportunity to create interest in careers in advanced manufacturing or a related industry.
“Since 2009, our region has seen 18.2% employment growth in manufacturing as well as a 41.4% wage growth. I would like to thank our companies for opening their doors to our students so they can truly see what a career in manufacturing looks like and understand the importance of the manufacturing sector in our community. It is our sincere hope at the Chamber that we can continue to facilitate partnerships like these to help fuel the highly skilled talent pipeline we need to continue to grow our economy,” said Ron Bunch, President and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.
According to Davert Plant Manager Greg Head, “We were honored to have several students from the ATC join us for tours at Davert. We have so many opportunities for students with the skills they are learning, and we were delighted to be able to provide them a look into what the world of manufacturing looks like. We hope that we will see them in the future!”
“Having the opportunity to visit the manufacturing environment allows these students and other young people the chance to consider traditional and non-traditional pathways to a successful career. It was an honor to host our first facility tour, and we hope this opportunity will encourage students as they build their capabilities today and consider their options after graduation.” said Brenda Collins, Human Resources Manager at American Howa Kentucky.
South Central Kentucky is home to a diverse group of business and industry leaders ranging from international headquarters operations to advanced manufacturing to transportation, distribution and logistics and everything in between. In 2015 alone, these businesses have contributed to over $894 million in capital investment and the creation of 968 new jobs in the local community. In fact, the advanced manufacturing and transportation, distribution and logistics sectors alone account for over 31,600 jobs, the region’s largest employment sector at 30% of the workforce.
For more information about how you can get involved in helping our young people grow into exciting careers in advanced manufacturing, contact the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce at 270-781-3200 or visit www.bgchamber.com. When visiting the Chamber’s website, be sure to click on the Jobs Portal for details about current open positions in South Central Kentucky.
For companies or schools interested in participating next year, please contact Emilee Buttrum at Emilee@bgchamber.com
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/.