Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Launches Manufacturing Career Center

Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today, the Chamber announced the launch of the South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center.  The Center is a collaboration among partners including SKYCTC, ResCare, various non-profit agencies and several of our local targeted businesses. The Center will help companies find well-trained talent through recruitment and job fair events, as well as link job seekers with training opportunities to prepare them for the positions our companies have to offer. 

According to Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch, “We believe it is our responsibility to be the voice of the business community. As they identify needs, we respond by finding solutions.  In the area of workforce, we have responded to their needs by convening partners to offer educational programs and services in Warren County that directly benefit those businesses and job seekers alike. The Manufacturing Career Center is the next step in the development of an integrated resource for companies and job seekers.”   

In our role as the voice of the business community, the Chamber has been a leader in convening partners to develop talent initiatives that extend from the earliest opportunity in elementary school to postsecondary 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.  At 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 partnership with the Chamber, our schools will soon add career academies to the educational mix, adding hard skills on top of students’ already strong leadership 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 two 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 its needs and provide training to support those needs. The Training Consortium of South Central Kentucky, a membership organization provides high-quality and cost-effective training to regional companies. The Consortium is governed by a Board of Directors made up of member-company representatives, individuals from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Kentucky University and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College that set the Consortium's policies and build training schedules based on the demonstrated needs of local businesses.

“In 2013, the South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Industry Partnership 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, transportation, distribution and logistics by 2016 and that number will double to 9,000 by 2020. This was an astounding statistic for us to hear.  Since that time, the Chamber has worked tirelessly to find solutions to ensure the business community has the talent pipeline we need to continue to operate and grow.  I am delighted to see that effort move to the next level with the Manufacturing Career Center,” said Greg Head, of Davert USA. 

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. 

“We are delighted to be a strategic partner in the Manufacturing Career Center. Helping to find solutions for our business community is consistent with our core mission, and we look forward to developing future offerings that will best serve their needs,” said Dr. Phil Neal, President and CEO of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. 

Building on this progress, the Chamber has engaged ResCare to help bring various partners together with the significant resources of the ResCare organization to truly offer a robust and seamless workforce development initiative.  As the Manufacturing Career Center, the group will identify training needs within the targeted business community and work together to provide the programs and initiatives that will best serve to create and expand the high quality talent pipeline that our businesses need.

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative here in Bowling Green.  We have worked with several communities on developing career centers specifically for manufacturing, and we are delighted to be able to bring our wealth of knowledge to help Bowling Green and Warren County’s efforts develop a well-trained talent pipeline in manufacturing, “ said DeVone Holt, Director of Customer Engagement, Workforce Services, ResCare. 

The first offering of the South Central Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center will be a Certified Production Technician Training that will begin on February 2nd at SKYCTC.  The class will be held from Tuesday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 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.