What Has Kentucky Manufacturers Worried?

April 28, 2016


Impact Northern #Kentucky developed an employer collaborative to address shortages in #manufacturing workers.

Northern Kentucky has a robust manufacturing industry, representing 77% of all goods-producing sectors in the Commonwealth. And, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, manufacturing will continue to grow in the Bluegrass State. By 2020, there will be nearly 18,000 open manufacturing positions in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region. So why are manufacturers in the region concerned about the future of the industry? One word—talent.

A recent survey revealed that 80% of employers in the region are not confident they can quickly find workers with the skills needed to fill open positions due to retirements or business growth. Beyond this skills gap, Impact Northern Kentucky, a nonprofit of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, found that community members were not familiar with many of the regional manufacturing jobs, and lacked understanding of the opportunities within manufacturing careers.

To tackle these issues, Impact Northern Kentucky developed an employer collaborative that is applying Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) principles to address shortages in manufacturing. By bringing a group of regional manufacturers together, Impact Northern Kentucky is able to help the industry evaluate demand planning needs, find common competencies and credentials needed to succeed, and understand where current employees are obtaining skills and experience through talent flow analysis.

Businesses are engaging with local colleges to pinpoint their exact needs and help generate the skilled workforce that is ready and able to thrive in manufacturing. 

“Employers play an invaluable role in terms of working with the educational systems to get very, very clear about what their needs are,” said Janice Urbanik, Executive Director of Partners for a Competitive Workforce.

From this information, the collaboratives are able to better align employer measures to ensure companies are getting the best talent available, and research incentive mechanisms that would help these TPM strategies succeed long-term.

“The only way we are going to address the pipeline issue in our workforce is by programs that really bring together business, industry, and educators in a more meaningful dialogue than has ever taken place before,” said Dr. Keith Bird, President of Gateway Community & Technical College.

Northern Kentucky has laid a path for industry viability in the future by transitioning from a supply-driven industry model to a more efficient, economically beneficial demand-driven one.

To learn more, visit the Talent Pipeline Management website