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The Henry County Local, KentuckianaWorks provides training for GE jobs

By Christopher Brooke

Date Published: 10/14/2015

General Electric has openings paying $15.50 per hour for 75 new employees with certified production technician training for its recently announced air conditioner production line, according to Kentuckiana Works officials. Henry County residents can get that CPT training in classes beginning soon in Shelby County.

Kentuckiana Works spends more than $12 million on workforce development annually, with most of that funding coming from the federal government, Executive Director Michael Gritton said.

Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent sits on the workforce development’s board, and he asked KentuckianaWorks to do more outreach here and make residents aware they can qualify for available training assistance funds.

“What we’re trying to do is let residents know that we have $2 million in money that’s been set aside this year for job training scholarships in sectors that are growing, like health care and truck driving and technology and manufacturing,” Gritton said.

The Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center in Louisville cooperates with 60 companies in the region on workforce development efforts, he said. Many of those companies want to attract employees with a training credential called the certified production technician.

Workforce development officials have helped 500 people get jobs in the last two years, with about 150 of them first earning their CPT by taking a four-week course, he said.

“GE is now growing and expanding,” Gritton said. “They’ve come to the conclusion that the certified production technician represents exactly the kinds of skills they would like to get in their new production workers.

“They are actively encouraging people to connect with Kentuckiana Works get into this training earn the four-week credential and there job interviews lined up and waiting for you when you’re done,” he said.

Having the training doesn’t guarantee a job, but it does guarantee consideration, Gritton added. And beyond GE, other companies in the region are seeking well-trained employees, too.

So, he encouraged any one interested in earning around $30,000 a year with GE to attend two open houses at the Henry County Public Library Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 at 10 a.m.

“This isn’t a one-off,” Gritton said. “What we’d like to do is make sure we’re getting word to you more regularly about things like this. It costs them nothing — it’s paid for with tax dollars and it could lead to a good job. GE is paying $15.50 an hour with benefits to start with lots of opportunities to move up.

“For people trapped in a low wage job who are looking for an opportunity,” he continued. “This may be four or five weeks of training, but once they come out of it, there are jobs waiting at places like GE that could potentially help change their life.”

Besides the CPT training, Kentuckiana Works can help prepare Henry County residents for careers in health care, trucking, information technology, manufacturing and skilled trades.

One of the most high profile efforts is Code Louisville, which provides training for people to land one of the many high tech jobs in the region, he noted.

The health care sector also has many openings right now, and Gritton singled out nursing as one of those opportunities.

“If there’s anybody in Henry County thinking about going to nursing school, this $2 million can help,” he said. “That’s where they need to call us and set up an appointment with a career counselor.”

As Louisville acts as a major economic engine for the region, job growth happening there has impacts on Henry County.

“As the economy’s improving, what you’d expect is employers would have to compete to find talent, and, as they compete to find talent, hopefully they’ll pay talented people more,” he said. “That’s good — we’d all like to see median income rise.”

With more companies cooperating with Kentuckiana Works, Gritton expects to be looking for more people from Henry County to benefit from the economic growth in the region.

“The challenge for us is we’re being driven by employers who have needs, which is the right way to do the job,” Gritton said.

In order to qualify for classes set to begin Nov. 2 and continue through Dec. 1 at the JCTC Shelby County Campus, located at 1361 Frankfort Road in Shelbyville, those interested must attend one orientation session to be held in Shelby or Henry counties.

The orientation sessions in Shelbyville will be held at the Kentucky Career Center at 88 Brunerstown Road at 9 a.m. Oct. 20 and 27.

The orientation sessions in Henry County will be at the Henry County Public Library in Eminence at 10 a.m. on Oct. 16 and 23.

Those interested can call the career center at (502) 276-9711 ext. 4001 to register.

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