Versailles, Ky. Gov. Matt Bevin proclaimed October Manufacturing Month, and in honor of Kentucky manufacturers, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) salutes its many business partners from across the Commonwealth.

These partners work with the 16 KCTCS colleges to align program curriculum to their business needs in each community. Theyve also advised the colleges of what can be improved. For instance, employers said graduates need more education in soft skills. So KCTCS surveyed approximately 1,000 employers to get more specifics. More than 700 answered the survey and said this means graduates need to improve skills such as communication, work ethic, flexibility and problem solving abilities. Twelve percent of those answering the survey were from advanced manufacturing.

Two colleges, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College and Madisonville Community College, are taking the lead with soft skills development and KCTCS will incorporate those best practices along with the employer research to develop system-wide opportunities for soft skills development.

Its no secret that Kentucky employers face a situation where they have too many good jobs that go unfilled because they cant find qualified workers. This is especially true in the manufacturing field. Thats where programs like the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, or KY FAME, come in. KY FAME is a partnership of regional manufacturers whose purpose is to implement dual-track, apprenticeship-style training that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers. KCTCS colleges partner with manufacturers to offer the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program. There now are KY FAME chapters in all corners of the state.

The establishment of KY FAME and other apprenticeship-style programs are very successful. Thats because they have a clear and direct pathway to a career. Because of the success in manufacturing partnerships, KCTCS looking at expanding these types of programs into other areas, such as health care.

Most jobs in Kentucky require some type of postsecondary credential and the job market is ripe for those whove attained those credentials. KCTCS offers more than 200 programs that can be completed in less than four months that lead to good jobs that pay up to $60,000.

Manufacturing month is a good time to look into registering for one of these programs. For more information, future students can visit the their local colleges website and view the programs available in their area.