LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB ) -- Teachers from one Jefferson County high school were back in the classroom, but it wasn't a regular classroom.
The classroom belonged to Ford, a simulated assembly line at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road. It is where the Escape is manufactured.
About sixty teachers from Jeffersontown High School got a first hand lesson on how the assembly line works at the plant and what the workers have to do to keep it moving.
"We are teaching them about the manufacturing environment," explains the training coordinator for the plant, Tami Hatfield, "what we do so they can incorporate that into their lesson plans at school."
Last spring, the Jefferson County School System and Ford entered into an agreement for a pilot program with five schools, including J-town High, which is a magnet school for engineering.
Bob Hunt of Ford went on to further explain, "We are trying to help students look at different options for career paths to give them an idea what it is like to work on an assembly process."
The program is part of the Ford Next Generation Initiative. The goal to improve the skills of high school students so they are better prepared for high tech jobs in the auto industry and in other fields.
"It was really eye opening to see how much skills they will need," says Jeffersontown High teacher Missy Payne, who has taken part in the assembly line instruction, "in reading, math, and how much science is connected to it and being able to connect this back into the classroom is invaluable."
Almost 80,000 people work in Kentucky's more than 450 auto related industries, so there is plenty of opportunity for workers who have the proper skills to do the job.
Auto manufacturing is growing in the state and that growth is expected to continue; but only if a highly skilled workforce is available.
Getting kids wanting to work in auto manufacturing and having them college and career ready; this will help us see the skills they need everyday in our classrooms."
Last year Kentucky's four auto assembly plants produced more than a million vehicles, making the state the number three auto producing state in the nation, behind only Michigan and Ohio.
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