Tony Crawford says his life has “taken a big turn for the better” since landing a production job at Louisville’s Bigelow Tea, and he credits a training program offered by the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center.
“The training was pretty intense and not easy at all, but definitely worth it,” said Crawford, 31, who’d been laid off from a previous job. “Graduation day, when we got our training certificates, there were 12-15 companies lined up in the room wanting to hire us. The training and support the center provided are the reason I have this job today.”
Crawford was recognized today by Mayor Greg Fischer as the one thousandth person placed into a job by the center, a one-stop facility that provides training and resources to meet the rising demand for skilled workers in the Louisville region.
Crawford credits the training for preparing him well for his new job and for securing a slightly higher wage than he would have gotten without the course.
(Learn more about training at the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center by calling (502) 276-9711, or at kentuckianaworks.org.)
The facility is located at 160 Rochester Dr., Building W, in the Airport Industrial Center in south Louisville.
The center, which opened in May 2013, also provides English as a Second Language classes, job fairs and other support for job seekers and employers. It’s operated by KentuckianaWorks, the Workforce Development Board for the Louisville area.
“Manufacturing is thriving in the Louisville region, and this center is vital in providing individuals the training and confidence they need to succeed – and connecting them with employers who need workers ready to hit the ground running, with the right skill set and motivation,” Mayor Fischer said.
The center’s career coaches help match job seekers with available manufacturing jobs and make sure they have the right training and skills for the work.
“As Louisville continues to serve as a shining example of the revitalization of our nation’s manufacturing sector, the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center has been an important part of that success, providing hard-working Kentuckians with the tools and know-how they’ll need to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow,” said Congressman John Yarmuth. “I’m incredibly proud to be part of today’s announcement of the 1,000th job placement, and look forward to thousands more as the center continues its important work.”
Several training courses are offered at the center, including Certified Production Technician (CPT) training. Individuals who complete the four-week course often have a competitive advantage over job applicants who lack the training. A more intensive, two-week course is also available.
Since 2013, individuals have earned more than 3,000 training certificates and credentials at the center, including the CPT.
GE Appliances is among the more than 100 area companies who have hired individuals trained or referred by the center. The company has employed 45 people referred by the center since it opened in 2013.
“As the labor market continues to be a challenge, training people for careers in manufacturing is critical for companies such as GE Appliances,” said Tom Quick, Vice President, Human Resources at GE Appliances. “We appreciate the partnership with the KMCC.”
In addition to referring workers, the center also offers employers a place to post job openings and to access basic manufacturing skills training for existing employees.
“We believe in the work of this industry-specific career center because it’s an effective way to help fulfill our mission of improving people’s lives through the dignity of work,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks.
Partners in the center are the Louisville Redevelopment Authority, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Jefferson County Public Schools – Adult Education and Career and Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment, Preeminent Training Specialists, ResCare Workforce Services and Vision of Hope Ministries, Inc.
The Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center is funded by a mix of local foundation grants and federal dollars. Start-up funding from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions in 2013 was matched by local groups including: Community Foundation of Louisville, Gheens Foundation, James Graham Brown Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and PNC Foundation. Funding is also currently provided by the Louisville Redevelopment Authority. Additional annual funding comes from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act.