Deloitte estimates the skills gap will lead to approximately two million manufacturing jobs going unfilled over the next decade due, in part, to a lack of skilled labor. Add to that the retirements of numerous long-term employees with years of insight who can diagnose a problem with a piece of equipment just by listening to it — they are taking all of that knowledge with them.
There are many ways organizations and manufacturers are working to fill the gap. Examples include apprenticeships, Manufacturing Day, programs for veterans and educational opportunities in grade school and beyond, to name a few.
Now, a new training facility in Kentucky hopes to give former coal miners the skills they need for a career in advanced manufacturing.
This week, classes began at the HAAS East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute in Paintsville, KY training students for manufacturing jobs. Most of the 13 students enrolled have coal mining backgrounds and all the students share something in common — they have all experienced being laid off.
Thousands of former coal miners are out of work and programs like the one offered at East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute are hoping to transform the skills these workers used in the coal industry to those needed in advanced manufacturing.
"Their skills can easily be transferred to aerospace and other manufacturing, for instance," said Kathy Walker, director of the HAAS eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute. "We're potentially sitting on a labor gold mine here."
For more information about the program, as well as a little background on some of its students, check out the video below.