FLORENCE, Ky. – In Northern Kentucky, there are roughly 680 advanced manufacturing jobs currently unfilled. In the next three years, there will be around 2,500 jobs and in 10 years, about 6,250.
"We have employers telling us we need these positions filled; we have Gateway [Community & Technical College] telling us we have the programs to get people trained and certified; we have support organizations that are working with women who need these jobs. Raise the Floor brings this all together," said Janice Urbanik, executive director, Partners for a Competitive Workforce.
Raise the Floor is an initiative designed to promote manufacturing careers to women to prepare them for stable, highly-paid, high-performance production jobs. Currently, women comprise of only 10 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the region, according to Ed Hughes, president, GCTC.
"This program was developed by women, for women," Hughes said during the initiative’s Nov. 1 kickoff. "We now have recruitment efforts aimed at four of the five worker populations identified by the Northern Kentucky Industrial Partnership – high school students, adults changing careers, veterans, and now, women. Future initiatives will focus on senior citizens."
United Way-managed Partners for a Competitive Workforce is a co-sponsor of the initiative, one Urbanik holds near and dear.
"As a woman who has been in a non-traditional career my entire life, this program is near and dear to my heart," Urbanik said. "This drives the economic vitality of the region. Our region is on the map nationally and Raise the Floor is another example as to how this community is working together to solve our regions problems."
The initiative targets female high school students and undecided college women, unemployed and underemployed women. Raise the Floor consortium chair Laura Lyons, president, ATech Training, Inc., said the initiative provides a pipeline for women to manufacturing positions and gives them the tools to help them be successful.
"The Raise the Floor initiative is a shot in the arm for our extensive manufacturing pipeline efforts," Hughes said. "We are very grateful to the United Way, which has co-sponsored this effort, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, and all of the 26 women who so generously volunteered their time to develop this dynamic new initiative."
Raise the Floor will finish up its pilot program on Nov. 8. Women may begin to enroll in the pathway program in March 2014.