One of the most important ways to grow our community is through the ability of local employers to offer jobs that attract people from all walks of life. Whether it is that high school kid looking for their first job or someone thinking about switching careers into a new field, pathways to success continue to help shape our continued economic prosperity as a community.
Manufacturing continues to play a vital role in Lincoln’s economy, which ultimately led to the formation of the Lincoln Manufacturing Council in 2019, comprised of a group of 15 councilmember businesses, six supporting businesses and two community partners. The bottom line is this—manufacturers are looking for labor and the pool of candidates is decreasing, so how are pathways and pipelines created to get people interested in manufacturing?
The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development oversees the implementation and operation of training classes offered, helping companies find skilled workers with a MFG Certificate. The classes offered and certification serve as an introduction to the industry, which includes basic skills that prepare candidates for work in entry-level manufacturing jobs. Throughout the six-week course, practical examples and related materials are taught in the curriculum in the hopes of providing students with a basic knowledge that will serve them well in their development in a manufacturing-related career.
The program continues to expand and with it comes even greater opportunities in 2022 and beyond. Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and local fiscal recovery funding from the city of Lincoln, the LMC classes will be able to reach more people interested in manufacturing careers.
First, there will be an expansion of the Level 1 Manufacturing Certificate, which serves as an introduction to manufacturing for interested participants. This prepares participants for work in entry-level manufacturing jobs. Second, a Level 2 Manufacturing Certificate will be developed, which allows Level 1 participants to continue the certificate pathway. Training includes more detailed instruction and would position Level 2 Certificate earners to be better qualified to enter directly into positions paying higher wages. Finally, this expansion would partially subsidize eight weeks of on-the-job training for certificate earners when hired by an area manufacturer. LMC would subsidize up to 60 percent of their salary at $17/hour for up to the first eight weeks of on-the-job training.
In addition to expanded LMC course offerings, LPED continues to partner with Lincoln Public Schools to connect K-12 students to STEM pathways, which includes manufacturing. The Lincoln STEM Ecosystem provides connectivity between K-12 education and before/after school services and the STEM-focused businesses growing throughout Lincoln. The ability to bridge the skills gap and fill the thousands of unfilled jobs across our state will remain an important area of focus in the near and long-term future.
For more information on the Lincoln Manufacturing Council and the program offerings, contact Allison Hatch at (402) 436-2365 and email@example.com. More details are also available at selectlincoln.org/LMC.