Monday, October 31, 2011

Workforce Development in Lewisburg

Cornersville Principal Bob Edens with JECDB Director Mike Wiles and Dickie Archer of CKNA speak with Students at Cornersville High School. – photo by J.J. King

As workforce issues continue to arise in the manufacturing sector of the United States, Lewisburg is taking steps to insure our workforce has the skills needed by any and all manufacturers.
Recent estimates show that 600,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are going unfilled due to a lack of an adequately skilled workforce. In Lewisburg, the Economic Development Department is joining forces with its existing industry leaders and every educational and training facility in the region to develop a dialogue and subsequently a curriculum that will create a stronger and better skilled workforce for the present and future manufacturers in Lewisburg.
Calsonic Kansei of North America has begun a presentation for middle and high schools students across Marshall County to explain theneeds of manufacturers for skilled and dedicated employees. Dickie Archer, Global CKPS Manager for CKNA, and his team have been holding frank discussions with area students to outline the necessity of post-secondary education.
“Graduating from high school simply isn’t good enough anymore,” Archer said. “You need to seek a college degree, a vocational certification or military training when you graduate in order to compete for the jobs in manufacturing today.”
While that message is getting to the students in Lewisburg and Marshall County, Greg Lowe, Director of Economic Development for the City of Lewisburg, is convening a Workforce and Education Summit on December 1 with industry leaders, Columbia State Community College, Tennessee Technology Center, Tennessee Career Center, Spot Lowe Career Technical Education Center, Marshall County Adult Education, Marshall County High School, Forrest High School, Cornersville High School, Tennessee Department of Labor, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance and University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.
The goal of the summit is to let industry leaders describe in detail their workforce needs presently and projected needs for the future in order for the educational and training agencies to develop a curriculum and/or programs to help meet those needs.
“We believe there are already educational and training opportunities available that are not known or not properly understood by industries and prospective workers,” Lowe said. “We also believe there are new educational and training opportunities that can be created by developing a better line of communication between industries, the educational and training institutions and the agencies that support them both.
“Lewisburg has long enjoyed a strong industrial base and we want to continue to be a home to manufacturing. We can do this by making sure we have the skilled workforce that manufacturing needs, now and going forward in the future.”