New partnership helps Kentucky students fill roles in manufacturing

Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 19:52:27-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — 50 scholarships will be available for manufacturing students in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

Xometry, which "helps companies create locally resilient supply chains by providing access to domestic manufacturers" is awarding these scholarships "to train the next generation of skilled mechanical engineers, technicians, and machinists."

"We work with thousands of manufacturers across the country. We uniquely understand their imminent needs, and a skilled workforce tops the list,” the company's CEO Randy Altschuler said on Friday.

And that fits right into Kentucky's plan.

Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman said Kentucky is focused on economic development and that includes getting more manufacturing into the state.

“Kentucky’s economy is on fire and [Friday's] announcement underscores the fact,” Coleman said. “Xometry is betting on Team Kentucky, especially our students and next generation of leaders."

She believes the timing is perfect because the pandemic and global supply chain issues made companies realize they need local manufacturing options.

"Once the pandemic hit, we realized all the things that we took for granted that weren't really made here," said Coleman. "So, we're making a real effort to make sure that that doesn't happen again."

But to attract more companies, Kentucky needs a skilled workforce. And learning the skills that manufacturing positions require can get expensive. So, students are excited about scholarship opportunities.

"There are multiple people taking out loans and some that are having to work a ton of overtime just to afford this," said Robert Freeman, a manufacturing student. "So [it's] very, very beneficial for us."

Xometry leaders say the scholarships will help ensure "that manufacturers can attract and train employees who will power the industries of tomorrow."

“This will provide an opportunity for more Kentuckians to earn credentials that are in high demand in the manufacturing field," said Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Dr. Paul Czarapata. "It’s also a win for employers who can’t find enough skilled workers.”

More information about the scholarships can be found here.