Companies work together to address labor shortage

January 7, 2012 by  

Northern Kentucky’s manufacturing community is brainstorming ways to attract more skilled workers to the area.

Calling themselves The Northern Kentucky Industrial Park Industry Partnership, the group has a $65,000 budget from the State to launch a two-pronged attack to reverse the labor shortage, according to a report in The Kentucky Enquirer.

That includes a survey of the approximate 400 manufacturers which includes large scale industrial print companies in northern Kentucky, regarding their staffing needs. Industry leaders have stated that the worker shortage, considering today’s economy, plus an attractive entry level salary of $50,000 or more, is a conundrum. Plus, most positions require only a two-year post-secondary certificate or degree.

Before the partnership was formed, a loosely organized group had employed a variety of tactics to lure more workers according to Mike Vogt, vice president of human resources for Mazak in Florence.

“Independently, we have taken some initiatives to try to influence students and recruit for our own businesses,” Vogt said. “So we’ve got these different bodies trying to solve the same problem and we finally realized that we should probably put our heads together.”

Senior leadership from an Erlanger firm in the printing services and graphics industry spearheaded the Partnership after meeting with state officials in Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The group was urged to apply for funding at that time to conduct research into the problem. The group believes they can create interest in a career in manufacturing among teens in high school and provide mentorship into college and eventually into a job.

A strategic marketing plan will help address the needs and concerns of members in the partnership and help change perceptions or misconceptions potential employees may have. Removing barriers and education may be all it takes to fill key staff roles in Northern Kentucky manufacturing companies.