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Northern Ky. officials tasked with helping training center turn out more manufacturing workers

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COVINGTON, Kentucky — Leaders in northern Kentucky are working to address a shortfall in trained workers who can fill advanced manufacturing jobs in the region.

A $28.5 million training center that opened four years ago at Gateway Community & Technical College has fallen well short of its goal of 10,000 graduates and trainees by 2015.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/1y66AW3 ) the region is not keeping up with the 600 new advanced manufacturing workers it needs each year.

So a new coalition of business, education training and elected leaders has been formed to figure out why the college isn't meeting its training goals.

"When the Center for Advanced Manufacturing opened at Gateway, everybody hoped that it would solve our challenges," said Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Trey Grayson. "But unfortunately, it hasn't. We still have (worker) shortfalls every year. The center isn't meeting projections."

Advanced manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of the jobs in northern Kentucky, and key employers include ZF Steering, Mazak and Mubea.

But employers have been faced with a rapidly-aging workforce and a shortage of new trained workers in the region. Manufacturers say they need 6,250 new employees over the next decade to do everything from engineering to welding.

Dan Tobergate, president of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, a member of the coalition, said it needs to come up with a strategy to satisfy the needs of the companies.

"There are number of them that are very concerned about this," he said.

In October, Gateway issued a report that said the college was falling short of its goals in advanced manufacturing, and asked for help and support from the community. Community and business leaders initially responded by asking Gateway to "go back to the drawing board" and develop a new strategy. But in a subsequent meeting of business and political leaders, they agreed Gateway also needed help from the community.

"We're not going to point fingers; we're all going to hold hands and figure this out together," Grayson said.


Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com

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