Has education of the K-12 students across the Commonwealth delivered the workforce necessary to successfully compete in today’s global technology-driven economy, bringing jobs to more Kentuckians closer to home? There is a direct long-term relationship between local economic investment in K-12 STEM education and community economic longevity and viability. Investment in strong STEM education for students at the local level, providing hands-on, project-based, problem-solving educational opportunities for all students within a community, leads to prosperity for that community as the students evolve and grow into the entrepreneurs, manufacturers, business leaders and community leaders of tomorrow.
September 30, 2011
Institute Senior Vice President Jennifer McNelly joined leadership from the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and KentuckianaWorks in a series of state and regional meetings to advance the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System, strengthening Kentucky’s manufacturing workforce.
While manufacturing is important on a national scale, it is also critical to Kentucky’s economy. Manufacturers in Kentucky account for 17 percent, or $25 billion of the Commonwealth's GDP in the state, directly employing over 220,000 with 3 spin-off jobs for every manufacturing job. In addition, the average manufacturing compensation (wages & benefits) in Kentucky is $63,540. Kentucky manufacturers also account for much of the U.S’s exports to Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.
We live in a highly competitive world and to increase our opportunities for economic success in the global marketplace, we must make dramatic improvements to our education and workforce development systems. The key to a winning strategy and possibly even our economic survival-for both the public and private sectors-especially our manufacturing community, is the development of “smart people.”