A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lee Crume: Manufacturing is a key driver to growth in Northern Kentucky

Every October, manufacturers, elected officials and economic development organizations throughout the U.S. celebrate Manufacturing Day on the first Friday of the month, to share what jobs and the atmosphere in the industry is like in the 21st Century. Many people have an outdated perspective on what it means to work in manufacturing. In October, manufacturers open their doors, this year many virtually, to show their clean, innovative, and technical operations to the public and especially students. Northern Kentucky has a strong manufacturing heritage and Tri-ED is working with many private and public sector partners to ensure the tradition and success continues.

Why should we celebrate manufacturing?

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), over the next decade, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the U.S. In Northern Kentucky, more than 500 manufacturers with more than 22,000 employees struggle today to fill open positions.

Through “Creators Wanted,” a campaign launched by NAM, manufacturers share the depth of the industry; how manufacturing encompasses making machines and products and problem-solving through the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and advanced technologies. The campaign also highlights the advantages of working for manufacturing companies – opportunities for careers with advancement, good salaries and great benefits.

NKY FAME apprentice class at the FAME national conference. (Photo Courtesy Gateway Community & Technical College)

Manufacturing Month celebrates modern manufacturing and allows manufacturers to share with our region’s students their facilities and careers available in the industry. Balluff, a leading provider of high-quality sensor, software, and identification and network solutions will host virtual events and tours for students throughout October.

Bosch Automotive Steering and Perfetti Van Melle, two of Northern Kentucky’s largest and long-term manufacturers and investors, are among 14 employers in the region who are attracting Gen Z’ers through apprenticeships and the Northern Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (NKY FAME). Gateway Community and Technical College provides this program.

FAME was started in Kentucky by Toyota and is now a national program of the Manufacturing Institute with dozens of chapters around the country. Through partnerships with regional manufacturers, FAME provides apprenticeship-style training in conjunction with classes for students while preparing them for well-paying careers in manufacturing.

Why is Tri-ED involved?

As an economic development organization, Tri-ED attracts new companies to the region and helps existing businesses grow and expand – our goal is to bring and foster good-paying jobs in Northern Kentucky. The average salary for an individual at a manufacturing company in the region is $62,877. Manufacturing jobs also create other jobs in the service sector, such as restaurants, salons, cleaners, and many more. One manufacturing job in Northern Kentucky is likely to create nearly two additional jobs.

NKY FAME Alumni Samuel Loehrke & Samantha North training at Gateway during the program. (Courtesy Gateway Community & Technical College)

Training programs such as NKY FAME are critical to providing the workforce that existing companies need now and those we hope to attract in the future. We’re a partner and investor in Growing Regional Outcomes through Workforce (GROW) NKY that spans efforts ranging from kindergarten-readiness to adult education and attracting new talent to our region.

While many people may think Northern Kentucky has a lot of available land, the reality is that developable land that is ideal for manufacturers is limited. Manufacturers want a location that is close to the highway and is ready for their investment – with utilities in place – in addition to an available and trained workforce. Due to the hills that are common in Northern Kentucky, land is a limited resource in our community. Tri-ED is working with our elected officials in Boone, Campbell and Kenton County to share research on the types of companies that are considering the region for new facilities, the salaries they are paying and the tax implications for a community so that if there is developable land, manufacturing is a strong consideration.

Long-term strategy for success

Lee Crume

Tri-ED and our partners in education and workforce training are working hard to ensure we have good jobs available in our community – jobs that provide stability and a good income. There is demand for manufacturing sites and a trained, skilled workforce in Northern Kentucky. Employment in the manufacturing sector is growing three times faster in our region than the national average. The Tri-ED team is committed to working to ensure we have sites available and the programs in place to attract new talent to modern manufacturing.

Lee Crume is President and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. Follow Tri-ED’s social media accounts for manufacturing statistics and #MadeInNKY stories this month, @NKY_EconDev (Twitter), Northern Kentucky Tri-ED on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment