Forty students from Doss High School took a trip to GE Appliance Park on Friday to learn about careers in manufacturing.

The students built cars, electric motors and operated robots together. Doss High School senior Bobbi Wall said she learned jobs in manufacturing aren't always boring and repetitive.

“I imagined just one machine and everyone sitting there [assembling it],” she said.

In the last five years, GE Appliances added thousands of jobs, but the company is having trouble filling them.

“People don't have the skills needed to fill those jobs, or they have their own expectation of what manufacturing is about,” said Kent Suiters, GE Appliances manufacturing Learning and Initiatives leader.

GE Appliances and 36 Kentucky schools are partnering with a new start-up company called Makerminded to create opportunities for students to shadow and get hands-on experience at manufacturing companies.

The goal is to get kids out of the classroom and into the workforce. The Makerminded website hosts a competition between the participating schools. The school that records the most STEM-related activities by the end of the year will win free technology to help further education.

“There are so many manufacturing jobs in Kentucky that are unfilled because we don't have enough people in Kentucky that are skilled in STEM skills,” said Brittany Garrett, state program manager for Makerminded.

GE Appliances hopes the program will help fill what it calls the "skills gap" and get students job-ready.

“There are all kinds of different jobs, from entry-level assembly plant work, the people who actually assemble the product, to the engineers, leadership and even on the business side,” Suiters said. 

Suiters says pay starts at $12 an hour.

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