Nineteen Bluegrass Community Technical College students signed with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky to start professional careers in advanced manufacturing Friday. 

Twenty-nine Bluegrass Community Technical College graduates participated in a signing ceremony Friday at BCTC, marking their start as professionals in advanced manufacturing. 

KCTCS and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) sponsored “Going Pro Signing Day” celebrations for the new hires across all 16 KCTCS colleges in the state. 

“What’s really neat about what happened today, I don’t think this has happened at this scale in any other state in the country,” said Lee Lingo, executive director of KAM. “Sixteen campuses, all in the same day, celebrating   2,600-plus graduates. All of them already have jobs. I mean if you let            that sink in, that’s pretty amazing.”

“We’re really excited about what Bluegrass is doing,” said Dr. Jay Box, KCTCS president. “Especially with all the partnerships with the manufacturers in this region.”

 Of the 29 graduates, one will begin working for Hayashi Telempu of North America (HTNA), six will be working for Montaplast, four for Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG) and 19 for Toyota. 

“I’m excited for my future with Toyota,” said graduate Julie Jackson during a lunch reception after the ceremony, sitting at a table with her fellow classmates and soon-to-be-coworkers. 

“Hopefully I’ll be seeing all these guys out on the floor.” 

“How often do you get this many employees all at once ready to go, to start getting into the workforce that you know are going to meet all the requirements you need?” said State Sen. Ralph Alvarado. “We have huge workforce needs in the state and we have so many more jobs available that need qualified people.” 

There are over 8,000 manufacturing job openings in Kentucky right now, according to KCTCS. 

“We believe we are the solution to the state’s workforce shortage,” said Box. 

KCTCS is the primary provider of manufacturing training in Kentucky and is trying to provide solutions to the state’s workforce shortage. One of these solutions is the KY FAME (Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) program. Through FAME, KCTCS partners with 135 business across Kentucky who offer work and learning experiences. Nearly 90 percent of students in the FAME programs are hired by the employing company, according to KCTCS. 

“I feel good,” said graduate Willis Willhoite, who signed to work at Toyota. 

“I’m excited to start working full time and make a lot of money.” 


Noah Oldham can be reached at noldham@news-graphic.com.

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