Manufacturing Institute Sees Demand for Reskilled Workers as US Manufacturers Bring Jobs Home

During its 8-week shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, two students enrolled in the eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) secured CNC machining jobs with leading manufacturers, with other companies calling the school with plans to hire new graduates in the coming weeks. Director Kathy Walker sees this interest as an indication that US manufacturing will see a resurgence, with recent surveys showing nearly two-thirds of manufacturers in North America plan to hire domestically instead of sending jobs overseas.

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eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute predicts US #manufacturing resurgence amid #pandemic. Demand for its re-skilled workers surges; survey shows domestic hiring uptick. #eKAMI prints & donates masks for #healthcare workers. #advancedmanufacturing

“There remains a strong demand for high-skilled positions in advanced manufacturing, particularly in automation and robotics,” said Walker, who founded the eKAMI Haas Center along with the Gene Haas organization in 2017 to reskill displaced coal miners and other workers to build the quality workforce needed to attract manufacturing jobs to the region. Students are trained for high-tech positions in CNC machining on the latest, state-of-the-art Haas equipment in 16- and 36-week immersive courses. eKAMI graduates have been hired by companies such as AutoGuide Mobile Robots, Heartland Automation, Roush Yates Engines, Lockheed Martin and Catepillar’s Progress Rail.

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“The Covid-19 situation revealed serious deficiencies in our domestic supply chain,” Walker said. “As a result, we are already seeing signs of a resurgence in US manufacturing, as an increasing number of manufacturers prepare to reshore jobs. Unfortunately, the skills gap remains for higher-level trades, driving the urgent need for automation. Our goal is to respond to industry demand by providing our workforce with the necessary tools to meet that challenge.

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