By Abby Laub
Educators in Greater Louisville continually work to meet the needs of a modern workforce. Examples include the all-new Talent Development Academies, the latest workforce development initiative in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools, KentuckianaWorks, Greater Louisville Inc. and other community and industry mentors.
KentuckianaWorks Executive Director Michael Gritton said the new academies roll out in the 2017-18 school year and include career pathways in 11 JCPS high schools.
The schools “all see this is a way to offer their kids more educational opportunities that create relevance,” Gritton said. “What we’ve been doing a lot in public education is focus on rigor and making things harder, but here we’re trying to combine rigor with and relevance.
“Kids ask, ‘Why am I learning this?’ Now we can show them why. Here’s how it’s applied: in construction contexts, finance or healthcare,” Gritton said. “It makes a lot more sense. It’s more relevant to the kid, and so the kid is more likely to pay attention and be energized.”
The academies include industry partners and focus on subjects like healthcare, advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, business services and information technology, and construction. TDA graduates will earn a high school diploma, work ethic certification, industry certification, up to nine college credits, and be academically eligible to take credit classes in college.
The program is supported by the Ford Next Generation Learning Network, and all 23 comprehensive and magnet high schools in JCPS were eligible to submit a proposal to join the initiative. The transformation will occur over a three-year period, and the goal by 2020 is to have 100 percent of JCPS graduates college or career ready.
“Students will have a wide variety of career pathways to choose from within their school – from business to IT to culinary to machine tool to communications to electrical,” said Kristin Wingfeld, coordinator or School Business Partnerships at JCPS. “Each school determines what pathways they will offer based on student/parent interest and aligned with workforce demand. If a students shows interest, having opportunities for them to get some hands-on learning will benefit both them and their future employers in terms of building skills.”
Project based learning is key, and Gritton explained that teachers and mentors will work together on projects across departments.
“Maybe math and history work together, or it can be a project with private industry,” he said. “The kids get really excited about it and so do the businesses, so everyone is more likely to dedicate time, people and equipment to the school because they’re also getting something back from it.”
Educators are “not trying to vocationalize things too early,” he added. “Even if you change your mind on the focus, you’re still going to be exposed to project-based learning and real-world examples. When I was in high school in the ’70s, you used to have to choose either a technical program or an academic track, but now you don’t have to choose wood shop and give up calculus. It’s better that it’s not split up.”
Degrees Work supports return to class
“With today’s low unemployment rates, companies are in a fierce battle to attract and retain talented employees,” Fischer said in a press release. “Degrees Work offers those companies an affordable way to help more of their employees go back to college to earn 2-year and 4-year degrees – increasing retention and employee engagement while adding skills to their teams.
For the past seven years, Louisville has worked to improve college attainment through 55,000 Degrees, the city’s education movement that has a goal of 50 percent of Louisville’s workforce earning at least an associate’s degree by 2020. A key part of that has been focused on adult learners. More than 91,000 people in the Louisville area have some college credit but still lack a degree. Degrees Work, operated by KentuckianaWorks, partners with seven area colleges and universities.
Getting teachers on board
For degree programs to work, in all levels of education, educating teachers is crucial. This spring, Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) and the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) announced the pilot of a statewide rollout of a teacher and instructor externship program with the state’s manufacturers.
The pilot follows the successful 2015 externship program in which LIFT and KY FAME teamed with the Northern Kentucky Industry Council. LIFT, a Manufacturing USA institute, and KY FAME are working to help up to 135 teachers and instructors connect classroom learning to authentic manufacturing-related activities. These ‘externships’ encourage teachers to use that connection in their classroom instruction, and increase their understanding of emerging technologies such as lightweighting and the opportunities and challenges these technologies pose for students.
“Our goal through our education workforce initiative is to raise the profile of manufacturers and the opportunities that exist,” said Joe Steel, director of Communications at LIFT. “There are jobs available now for workers and they will be available in the future. Too often students are not viewing manufacturing as a possible career choice, and our goal is to change that. Manufacturing is not the same as it was 10, 20, 30 years ago, and they need training, whether it be credentials and some sort of post secondary education or a four-year degree for engineering.”
He said LIFT works to encourage students from elementary school and beyond to see those opportunities and what better way to guide them than through their own teachers?
“Sometimes the teachers haven’t seen how high tech it is, so we give them that opportunity and then take that back into their classroom,” Steel said.
Jobs are everywhere
Covering many sectors of manufacturing is KY FAME, and Greater Louisville and Lincoln Trail chapters continue to feed the worker pipeline in the region.
KY FAME is a partnership of regional manufacturers whose purpose is to implement dualtrack, apprenticeship-style training that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers. The primary method to achieve this goal is through partnerships with local educational institutions to offer the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT).
Kent Suiters, chair of the rapidly growing Greater Louisville chapter, said the work that KY FAME does is increasingly crucial, as the Greater Louisville manufacturing market has grown at a quicker pace than the national average, and entry level jobs are especially in demand. And the statistics surrounding students and job placement speak for themselves.
“From a program perspective, 100 percent of graduates have a job with their sponsoring companies,” he said. “It’s almost guaranteed employment if you do a good job.”
FAME is doing a lot of attraction in secondary schools, including virtual field trips, nontraditional student partnerships, providing plant tours and job shadowing.
Greater Louisville Inc. is happy to see the workforce progress being made, and continues to be involved in the process, particularly through the new Talent Development Academies.
Deana Epperly Karem, GLI’s vice president of Regional Growth, noted that some of these programs have a workforce turnaround time of as little as three to five years and noted that career pathway exposure begins in fifth grade.
“The sooner you can introduce them to what the world can bring them the sooner they’ll be interested in learning about it,” she said. “And they’re hearing directly from the industry. GLI’s responsibility in the engagement with the school efforts – we’re not educators – but we’ve got the connections with the industries.”
Ultimately the goal is to keep people living and working in Louisville, spurring continued economic growth, and the education push ties into GLI’s talent attraction efforts.
“Overall the goal is about getting educated, creative people here and keeping educated, creative people here,” Karem said, noting that the international population contributes to this. “Our data shows that the international population that moved here, more than half of them come here with some kind of degree or certification or specialty that is appealing to employers.”
Connecting talent with credentials, whether a person is from Louisville or not, is a win-win, and beginning in schools is the focus.
“When you have a creative population that represents various backgrounds your community has more depth, it’s more interesting, it has an appreciation and tolerance for various cultures,” Karem said. “It makes us a better place to live, and it provides a more creative, dependable workforce.”
More than 70,000 students attend 31 colleges and universities
Private, for-profit 2-year college. Dental assisting, limited medical radiography, medical assisting, medical coding, medical office assisting, medical laboratory technician, phlebotomy, practical nursing.
Bellarmine University, Louisville
Private, non-profit, four-year college that also has advanced degrees in 26 graduate and professional programs. Arts and sciences, education, business, nursing, health sciences, e-commerce.
Brown Mackie College, Louisville
Four-year, primarily associate’s, private for-profit. Veterinary technology, occupational therapy assistant, practical nursing, legal studies, business administration, healthcare.
Campbellsville University, Elizabethtown
Private, not-for-profit: 4-year university, undergraduate. early childhood education.
Campbellsville University, Louisville Education Center
Private, not-for-profit 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Criminal justice, business administration, education, social work, theology.
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
Public, not-for-profit, 2-year technical institute. Baccalaureate transfer, nursing and allied health, computer information, radiological technology,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Private, not-for-profit: 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Aviation maintenance, aeronautics technical management, aviation business administration, aeronautical science, management.
Galen College of Nursing
Public, non-profit 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business, education, nursing, arts and letters, social sciences.
Indiana University Southeast
Public, non-profit: 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business, education, nursing, arts, social sciences.
Indiana Wesleyan University, Louisville Education Center
Private, non-profit 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business administration, IT, religious studies, healthcare, criminal justice, human services, communications.
ITT Technical Institute, Louisville
Private, for-profit 4-year or above. IT, Business, nursing, electronics, drafting & design.
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
Public 2-year technical college. Applied science, engineering technology, business, education, fine arts and design, health sciences, nursing, social services.
Jefferson Community and Technical College
Public, 2-year community college. Baccalaureate transfer, nursing, allied health, computer information, commercial art, culinary arts.
Louisville Bible College
Private, nonprofit, 4-year or above. Theology, ministry, literature, Christian education, Biblical counseling.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Private, not-for-profit: four-year university. Master of divinity, marriage and family therapy, religion, doctor of ministry, joint degrees in law, business administration, social work and spirituality.
McKendree University, Louisville Campus
Private, not-for-profit, 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business, management, marketing, accounting, human resource management, computer information systems, nursing, organizational communication.
McKendree University, Radcliff Campus
Private, not-for-profit: 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business administration, management, marketing, accounting, human resource management, computer information, nursing.
Mid-America College of Funeral Service
Private, not-for-profit 4-year college, undergraduate. Funeral services, funeral directors.
Northwood University, Louisville Program Center
Private, nonprofit, 4-year university. Business management, Business marketing, Ford Corporate Program, online degrees.
Ottawa University, Jeffersonville Campus
Private, nonprofit 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Business, healthcare management, human resources and services, public administration, psychology, education.
Purdue Polytechnic at New Albany
Public, non-profit 2-year technical institute. Graphics technology, electrical and computer engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, organizational leadership.
Simmons College of Kentucky
Private, for-profit four-year university. Biblical, theological and ministerial studies.
Private, not-for-profit 4-year comprehensive coeducational university. Accounting, business administration, communications, creative writing, education, humanities, natural sciences, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, social services.
Private, for-profit, 2-year associate’s degree. Nursing, business, allied health, invasive cardiovascular technology, medical technician, radiologist, surgical technology, computer electronics, graphics.
Sullivan College of Technology & Design
Private, for-profit, 2-year technical institute. Computer graphic design, dynamic Web development, interior design, mechanical engineering technology, HVAC technology, architectural and mechanical CAD, computer engineering technology.
Private for-profit: 4-year undergraduate and graduate. Management, accounting, marketing, office administration, culinary arts, baking/pastry arts, catering, legal studies, hotel/restaurant, child-care.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Private, not-for-profit, 4-year undergraduate, graduate and professional. Theology, missiology, evangelism, church music, Christian education, Biblical counseling.
University of Louisville
Public:, 4-year, undergraduate, graduate, comprehensive metropolitan research-extensive university. Arts and sciences, business, public administration, dentistry, education and human development, social work, law, medicine, music, nursing, public health, information sciences, engineering.
University of Phoenix, Louisville Campus
Private, for-profit university. Management, information technology, criminal justice, nursing, communication.
Webster University, Louisville & Fort Knox
Private, not-for-profit: graduate, professional. Business administration, computer resources, information management, human resources, management, communications.
Western Kentucky University, Elizabethtown/Fort Knox
Public, not-for-profit 4-year undergraduate, graduate. Elementary education, middle grades education, social work, online degrees.
Sources: Business First, January 2015; CollegeSource Online, 2015