Region celebrates Manufacturing Day

MFG DAY logoBusinesses, educators, economic development professionals and others throughout our region are taking time to celebrate National Manufacturing Day, which is Friday, Oct. 3.

There’s no doubt manufacturing is one of our most critical industry sectors. Last year, manufacturing supported one in six private-sector jobs and contributed $2.08 trillion to the national economy. That’s 12.5 percent of GDP.

It’s exciting to see our region’s existing manufacturers expand and new companies locate here, bringing more opportunities to workers and families. And these are not just any opportunities.

Advanced manufacturing is creating more and more technology-driven, high-paying jobs in fields such as robotics, information technology, physics, chemistry and more. Today’s workforce and the workforce of the future must be aware of these career prospects and the training that will prepare them for success. As manufacturing grows, so does its demand for employees with technical and analytical skills. In fact, according to the Manufacturing Institute, more than 82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers.

Across our region, people are working together to address this challenge and help students and job seekers take full advantage of these career opportunities. And as Manufacturing Day approaches, some are paying special recognition to this innovative, promising sector.

Among those recognizing Manufacturing Day are Grayson County Schools, the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce and local manufacturers, who recently wrapped up their Manufacturing Week. A long list of activities included bringing 300-plus eighth-graders into manufacturing facilities to learn more about a variety of careers, from production to engineering to business administration.

Also, Hardin County Schools’ Early College and Career Center is set to host Manufacturing, Business and Industry Day on Oct. 2. Students will be able to interact with the district’s business and industry partners and learn more about the vibrant career paths of the manufacturing sector.

Elsewhere, One Southern Indiana’s Metro Manufacturing Alliance members, along with regional partners, will come together on Oct. 3 to educate the public about the numerous opportunities available in our diverse manufacturing industry. The day begins with area manufacturers exhibiting for area students at 8:30 a.m. A press conference is set for 9 a.m. at the Perkins Technology Center at the Ivy Tech Jeffersonville Campus. A tour of the center and its mobile STEM training laboratory will follow the press conference.

Additionally, as part of the Southern Indiana regional activities, students, parents, educators and the public are invited to take advantage of tours and open houses hosted by a number of area manufacturers including Owings Patterns in Sellersburg, Amatrol, Key Electronics, Flow Aero, BriovaRx and Transformation Network in Jeffersonville, S&J Precision and ERL, Inc., in New Albany, Diverse Woodworking in Corydon and Knight School of Welding in Louisville.

Our hats are off not only to the businesses and talented employees of this vital industry sector, but also to the community partners who agree the great things happening in manufacturing are worth celebrating and sharing.

Leitchfield Home to Entrepreneurial Spirits

Whoop-de-do Design Leitchfield, KYLast week we shared some exciting news about a new satellite campus of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College coming to Grayson County. While we were there, we also did some exploring, scoping out new businesses, and finding out about the people who started them. For the KIX team, it’s always fun to see where and how the entrepreneurial spirit takes root.

A great example is Leitchfield’s newest retail establishment, Whoop-De-Doo Design. Located on the county seat’s historic square, it’s filled with home décor items, knick-knacks, and other treasures. But in our opinion, the greatest of these treasures is the owner, Jennifer Newton. This entrepreneurial mother of a 3-year-old was born and raised locally. And since the age of 14, she knew she wanted to own her own store and to help people decorate their homes. So when the 6,800 square foot, 100+ year-old building came on the market, she called her husband, told him about the opportunity, purchased and gutted the building, and turned a lifelong dream into a reality.

“I’m not a risk taker,” she said. “This is the riskiest thing I’ve ever done.”

On April Fools Day in 2011, Jennifer opened the doors, fully expecting to have to work a second job to pay the bills. Instead, business has been booming from day one. Jennifer says people were starved for something different and that’s what she provides, regularly offering new and unique merchandise for her customers.

So why Leitchfield?

For Jennifer, it was an easy choice. Leitchfield is where she was raised. It’s a town that feels comfortable, welcoming, and just plain home—a location that offers a quality of life that’s getting harder and harder to find in today’s fast-paced world. And after spending some time there, we couldn’t agree more. This is the kind of place where imaginations and individuals can thrive. Jennifer and her business are living proof of that!

So keep helping us shine a spotlight on our region. Send us stories of other people, organizations, or businesses we should feature. We’d love to pay you a visit. Oh, and if your travels take you to Leitchfield, we’d recommend you pay Jennifer a visit.

E-Town Community College Satellite Campus Coming To Grayson County

The KIX team recently caught up with our good friends in Grayson County, where lots of exciting things are happening. Most notably, some great news about increased access and opportunities for pursuing a college education close to home. While options existed in Elizabethtown, the up-to-35-mile drive made going there problematic for some Grayson County residents. Now, they can look forward to taking classes where they live and work.

Future site of Grayson County ECTCWhile it may be a vacant field today, but the 13 acres just down the road from the county government will soon be a new satellite campus for Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC). ECTC’s president, Dr. Thelma White, expects construction on the new facility to begin as early as April.

Caryn Lewis, Grayson County Chamber Executive Director, credits forward-thinking ECTC and community leaders for working together to bring this regional dream to fruition. This group includes city and county government, Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, the Leitchfield/Grayson County Industrial Development Corporation, the chamber, and many others committed to developing local talent, strengthening the workforce for local businesses, and helping to attract new business.

And Lewis reminded us that it’s not just Grayson County that will benefit, but prospective students from surrounding counties such as Meade, Breckenridge, Hart, and more.

We look forward to celebrating the grand opening of the new campus and the increased educational opportunities it will bring to local residents.