In 2019, several local manufacturing companies came together to solve one of the greatest economic development issues of our time–workforce development. In cooperation with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, the Lincoln Manufacturing Council (LMC) was formed as a coalition of businesses that are passionate about fostering the manufacturing workforce in Lincoln, and three years later they have continued to make strides in this area.
LMC’s top priority is to increase the number of people in Lincoln that have the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to enter the manufacturing industry. Their three goals are:
1. Improve recruitment and retention of workforce
2. Increase awareness of manufacturing careers in our community
3. Build opportunities for business growth and collaboration
The primary way LMC is meeting these goals is through the Manufacturing Tech Certification Class. This is a two-and-a-half hour, 6-session class open to anybody interested in manufacturing without prior experience. The class equips participants with the skills necessary to be successful in entry-level manufacturing roles that provide stability, good wages and benefits. The class includes free childcare, meals, face-to-face employer interaction and a $250 stipend when certificate holders apply for a job at a manufacturing company.
When an LMC Certificate holder applies for a job at a local manufacturer, the employer knows that this is a pre-vetted applicant that has skills and enthusiasm for a job in manufacturing. They have taken the time and effort to complete the class, and they know what it means to pursue a job in manufacturing. The class reduces as many barriers as possible so participants can find a career with stability, and the participants find confidence through the class to apply for the right jobs.
The program has graduated 140 students and continues to grow. It has been offered to community members, the corrections community, high school students, and most recently, new Ukrainian residents in the community. The class for Ukrainians was taught entirely in their native language by Ukrainian manufacturing professionals and allowed the 13 participants to attend a job fair with five manufacturers. The class helped build skills for the Ukrainians while they wait for their work authorization, and they are eager to begin work as soon as possible.
What’s next for the LMC? First, we are expanding to a Level 2 Certificate with more advanced manufacturing skills, intended for individuals who have completed Level 1 or have been identified by their employer for continued education. We are increasing marketing and polishing the curriculum to increase engagement and interest. We are finding new ways to engage the LMC’s 17 members and nine community partners along with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development through networking opportunities. Above all, we are continuing to seek new and innovative ways to strengthen and grow the manufacturing industry in Lincoln.
For more details on the LMC, visit us at selectlincoln.org/LMC.
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