Plan to increase the number of engineering grads in Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Plan to increase the number of engineering grads in Kentucky

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Wanted, higher-skilled workers.

During the past several decades, the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector of the regions's economy has not kept pace with the rest of the nation.

"We have some challenges, some really big challenges.  We don't have the folks in the community we need to grow our manufacturing environment," says Jim Lancaster, the CEO of Lantech, a Louisville company that makes packing equipment and conveyers.

Still, there are about 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the Bluegrass region.

The goal of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is to create a super region to compete globally for new businesses, but that cannot be done until the workforce here is better educated.

"Engineers and scientists are job-creating machines," says Mayor Fischer.  The mayor says there is a plan to create a more skilled workforce that could make Kentucky a center for advanced manufacturing.

"We have talked with the governor," says Fischer, "in relation to this next budget to fund the doubling in enrollment at the engineering schools at UK and the University of Louisville."

The two schools have a five-year plan to attract more students.  "This is relatively a low cost investment, for $10 million we can double the amount of engineers in our state," says Fischer.

The idea being that a higher skilled workforce will result in will result in more innovation and opportunities to start high tech businesses.

"I think about them as entrepreneur monsters, we need more engineers, we need more scientists,"says Fischer.

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