Company unveils new work/tuition program and virtual classroom opportunities with goal of creating 150 new manufacturing jobs
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) announced two new programs that they say will be a national model for helping build the next generation of American manufacturers and strengthen the local partnership between one of Kentucky’s largest employers and the commonwealth’s largest school district.
The first program of the GEA initiative will offer virtual classroom experiences for students in its Academies of Louisville manufacturing program at Doss High School. The second program, called GEA2DAY, will offer opportunities for high school seniors to join a new, weekly two-day workforce that provides a $14 an hour wage, real-world work experience, and up to $6,000 per year in college tuition.
GEA Chief Operating Officer Melanie Cook and JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, Ph.D., made the announcement at Appliance Park as the company wrapped up four weeks of activities celebrating National Manufacturing Month.
“GE Appliances has been one of Louisville’s leading manufacturers for more than 65 years,” said Cook, in a statement. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase the careers available here at GE Appliances while helping to develop our pipeline and recruit and train the American manufacturers of tomorrow.”
The new GE Appliances GEA2DAY program will create an employee workforce that will only work two days a week—Mondays and Fridays. As most full-time employees use their vacation and discretionary days to extend the weekend, GEA created this new program to not only fill a staffing need, but to improve flexibility for those seeking part-time work in a manufacturing environment, with a focus on students who can gain on-the-job experience while earning $14 an hour and up to $6,000 annually for college.
“Anyone in the community can apply to work as part of GEA2DAY, but we are really excited about the space this creates for JCPS seniors and recent high school graduates,” said Cook. “These students or recent graduates can work part-time at GE Appliances, earn spending money, and receive up to $6,000 every year for college tuition. As manufacturing companies in Kentucky and across the country struggle to find workers with the skills needed to succeed in today’s high-tech manufacturing world, GE Appliances will continue to lead in developing innovative initiatives like GEA2DAY to help address this important local and national issue.”
“This is a life-changing opportunity for students who need the flexibility to go to college and the money to pay for it,” said Pollio. “I’m very proud that one of my former students from Doss is already part of the GEA2DAY workforce.”
The new GEA2DAY program will create an additional 150 part-time jobs for Appliance Park.
Students in the Doss High School manufacturing program will be able to take a virtual tour of GE Appliances in March of 2019 and have a live web chat with employees who currently work at GEA. Students will be able to ask employees about career opportunities, job responsibilities, and the education and experience students need to apply for these jobs in the future.
As part of the virtual classroom initiative, GEA is also aligning the program with the JCPS Backpack of Success Skills initiative. Students will be given a real-world manufacturing problem to solve for GE Appliances.
“I am thrilled that one of our city’s largest employers is embracing this initiative and providing this challenge for our students,” said Pollio. “Our students at Doss will be able to upload the project to their digital backpacks as evidence and use it as part of their senior defenses to show that they are college and career ready. This is just the type of experience I imagined for our students when we created this initiative.”
The top students will present their projects to a panel of GEA executives. GEA leaders are challenging all Academies of Louisville partners to create similar projects with their partner schools. Cook, who is also on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, is also encouraging all American manufacturers to partner with their local school districts to launch similar programs in their communities.