“This apprentice program helps the city by developing future workers with the skills they need,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The program not only will help us with our 55,000 Degrees initiative, but it also helps fill the skills gap that we hear so much about as we develop our BEAM partnership to grow jobs in advanced manufacturing in the Louisville-Lexington region.”
Started in 2012 by nth/works, a precision manufacturer and engineering company, and Jeffersontown High School, the apprentice program provides five juniors and seniors with hands-on, paid training in five areas of manufacturing: welding and automation; tool and die equipment; tooling engineering; CNC machining; and kaizen, a Japanese manufacturing philosophy focused on continuous improvement.
“It’s up to us as manufacturers to work with schools to help train and inspire the next generation of engineers” said Hudson. “General Electric’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, has led the way to bring appliance manufacturing back to the United States. With GE, as well as automotive manufacturers like Ford and Toyota calling Louisville home, there is no shortage of demand for skilled labor. Our hope is to further refine this program to act as a model for other manufacturers, both locally and nationally.”
The growing shortage of skilled workers is a major concern for Mayor Fischer and community leaders. A recent Reuters report found that 34 percent of manufacturers have trouble filling jobs due to lack of available talent. Top reasons include lack of applicants and, among those who apply, lack of experience.
“We all need to pull together to train the work force of tomorrow and the City of Jeffersontown is pleased to be a long time participant in Jeffersontown High School’s award-winning Project Lead the Way initiative,” said Jeffersontown Mayor Dieruf. “As demonstrated by nth/Works internship program, it is up to us to provide the skills needed for ‘all’ the jobs in our community. The jobs of yesterday are not the same jobs of today and will be different from those of tomorrow.”
For more information on the nth/works apprentice program, contact nth/works Director of Engineering and Apprentice Program Administrator Paul Meshke at Paul.Meshke@nth-works.com or 502-479-0800.