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OTC, SAMA to form manufacturing consortium

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Ozarks Technical Community College's Center for Workforce Development and the Southwest Area Manufacturing Association are collaborating on a project to create better-trained manufacturing workers, the two groups announced Friday.

The yet-to-be-named consortium is in its early stages, but SAMA Executive Director Rita Needham said it could fill gaps in job-training skills being left by retiring baby boomers.

She pointed to advances in automation and recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that estimates manufacturers will need to hire more than 300,000 industrial, manufacturing and mechanical engineers, engineering technicians and metal and plastic production workers each year through 2012.

The planned consortium would allow companies to hire from a trained work force pool and know what skills have been developed, while unemployed workers would have access to training to gain an entry point into the manufacturing industry.

The problem, Needham said, is that most companies are too small to afford specialized training workers need to keep up.

"One thing this consortium could do is get grant funding," Needham said. "Maybe we can access a pool of grant money that smaller companies could qualify for to send people for ... the training they might not be able to afford individually."

Needham said a timeline for the program has not been set, as SAMA member companies are still being contacted.[[In-content Ad]]

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