Northern Kentucky firm, area tech center touted as job-creating partnership

In a nation being strangled by staggering unemployment, the Mazak Corporation in Florence is taking necessary measures to find skilled and educated employees.

Finding skilled workers with a good work ethicwas never a problem for Mazak, the leading machine tool manufacturer in the world. But, times have changed for many state and nationwide manufacturing companies–including Mazak. To retain its competitive edge, company leadership has done something to help correct the situation by creating the “MazakApprenticeship Program.” There are signs of real success.

“The idea of jobs going somewhere else is not at all acceptable,” said Paul Rayburn, Mazak assistant assembly manager and career employee of 33 years. “American manufacturing is the best in the world. And as an employer, we are willing to make the investment for skilled employees –but, we need a seed. We need to recruit people who have basic technical skills. And, this means looking at all the options –including secondary vocational technical programs.”

According to Rayburn, this is the first time since the company opened its doors in Florence, Kentucky as a small manufacturing operation in 1974 that they have had to put up a “welders needed sign” in the front yard. The plant is Mazak’sonly manufacturing facility in the United States. And, skilled employees in all production areas are critical to its commitment of manufacturing excellence. Of the approximately 800 employees, roughly half work in production.

With all the partnership efforts taking place and the initial successes of the three KY Tech apprentices, the good news is -Mazakcan use KY Tech as a pipeline to recruit individuals with basic technical skills. The good news for KY Tech students is they have a direct pathway into the manufacturing workforce if certain criteria is met. And, all of this is good news because everyone is working together to solve the problem of finding skilled and educated people to keep a manufacturing company alive and well –and, rooted in Kentucky!

Kentucky Tech students are now required to take the WorkKeys® test as a senior. This National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) represents the new measure of education excellence at the high school level and provides a job skills assessment –one that KY Tech students in welding, sheet metal, auto body repair, machine tool technology and industrial maintenance technology programs can use to be accepted into the Mazakapprenticeship program because they accept this as a recognized credential. This is a testament of how Kentucky Tech teachers are actively engaging students in the mastery of academic and technical skills needed to be ready for college and a career.

To read the entire story, click here Kentucky Tech.

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