Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Bringing Local Assets Together to Improve Workforce Training

Published Wednesday, December 23, 2015 8:15 am

Creating a robust pipeline of well-trained talent to support our businesses and grow our economy is top priority at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.  In that pursuit, the Chamber has been the driving force in convening partners to offer educational programs and services in Warren County that directly benefit our businesses and job seekers alike.

Most recently, the Chamber received a $30,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to offer 128 hours of Certified Production Technician (CPT) training, one of the desired credentials identified by South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Industry Partnership.  Training will be taught by SKYCTC and administered through the Training Consortium of South Central Kentucky, a membership organization administered by the Chamber that provides high-quality and cost-effective training to regional companies.

During the training, participants will be trained on the Four Critical Production Functions Common to All Sectors of Manufacturing as defined by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC): quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes and production, maintenance awareness and safety.  At the end of the training, students will hold a nationally recognized certification that is widely preferred for manufacturing careers.

According to Chamber CEO Ron Bunch, “Talent is the Chamber’s top priority.  We work every day to ensure that our companies have the highly skilled talent pipeline they need.  Over the years, we’ve developed several initiatives and convened several different partnerships to find the best solutions for our businesses.  The Training Consortium is one of those solutions, and we are very pleased with the success that it has had over the years.  CPT training is an important piece of the Chamber’s effort to bring together local assets to provide highly skilled credentialed workers directly to the companies who need them and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognized by the Wal Mart Foundation. We look forward to continuing our work to support the needs of our businesses and grow our economy.” 

 The Chamber has been a leader in developing talent initiatives that extend from the earliest opportunity in elementary school to post-secondary education to initiatives for incumbent workers.  In 2011, the Chamber organized a group of private investors to implement FranklinCovey’s The Leader In Me (TLIM) leadership training in all schools, K-12 in Warren County – the first initiative of its kind in the nation.  TLIM provides leadership training and ethics building for students at all levels.  Once to the high school level, the Chamber has recently grown the Work Ethic Seal program from just over 100 participants in 2013 to nearly 700 in 2015 and now requires National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) at the end of the course.  In 2016, the Chamber will add career academies to the educational mix, adding hard skills on top of students’ already strong soft skills.  In an effort to introduce the STEM disciplines into career education, the Chamber initiated the On Track program in 2015 – a competition between the Warren County Area Technology Center and SKYCTC that challenges the students to completely rebuild 2 Chevy Camaros to compete in the Holley LS Fest, held annually at Beech Bend Raceway.  For incumbent, unemployed, and underemployed workers, the Chamber has long worked with the business community to determine their needs and provide training to support those needs.

In 2013, the South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Industry Partnership, including AEP; Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, LLC; Berry Plastics; Cannon Automotive; General Motors; Holley Performance Products; Kiriu USA; Kobe Automotive Aluminum Products (KAAP); The LORD Corporation; Bowling Green Metalforming; Sumitomo; Country Oven Bakery; Kapstone Container; Davert; NASCO; Stoody; The Sun Products Corporation; and Woodcraft Industries participated in the development and adoption of the Urgent Call to Action Report.  According to that report, South Central Kentucky will have 4,500 openings in manufacturing alone by 2016 and that number will double to 9,000 by 2020.

In response, member companies worked with the Chamber to identify a set of credentials that would most benefit their needs, and developed the Preferred Employer Network, a group of companies that are committed giving preference to candidates who have completed those credentials.  The list of credentials includes completion of high school or GED, completion of the Work Ethic Seal Program, the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC), and possession of an industry recognized certification. Local companies participating in the Preferred Employer Network include, but are not limited to Bowling Green Metalforming; KOBE Automotive Aluminum Products; AEP; Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, LLC; and Shiloh Industries.   

The Chamber has also worked to convene partners to offer enhanced programs and services like sector focused job fairs, company-specific recruitment events, and customer service certification.  Partners in these initiatives include Western Kentucky University, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, Audubon Area Community Services, Goodwill Job Junction, and the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. 

The Certified Production Technician Training will begin on January 26th at SKYCTC.  The class will be held from Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm and will run for 12 weeks.  For more information on how to sign up, contact Camille Padilla at 270- 270-901-4617 or camille@bgchamber.com.