While Lake County is known for its plant nurseries and vineyards, it is by no means strictly an agricultural county. In fact, 33% of the county's workforce is in manufacturing. Lake County manufacturers work with all kinds of materials, from polymers to metals to industrial chemicals.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership offers specialized assistance and high- end business consulting to manufacturers, product and technology-based companies, like research and development or testing firms, as well as individual inventors. The focus areas of the program are continuous improvement and modernization of processes, helping product developers successfully follow a path leading to commercialization, and finally supporting commercialization of new products.
Lakeland Community College's Tech Prep is a two-year college preparatory program focused on technical fields. It incorporates academic coursework with applied learning, and the work earns college credit for the students while they are still in high school.
Among Auburn Career Center's many programs is its Advanced Manufacturing Course set for high school students. It helps prepare students for careers in advanced manufacturing, whether as technicians, designers, or engineers.
The Alliance for Working Together was started to address issues, challenges and best practices related to the manufacturing industry in Lake County. Recognizing the development of a skilled workforce as one of the most important issues, AWT decided to work to develop a degree program that would meet the needs of the manufacturers and partnered with Lakeland Community College to develop an Associate of Applied Science degree in Manufacturing. Students not only learn the skills necessary to succeed in a manufacturing career, but they also have the opportunity to build relationships with AWT member companies to apply their knowledge in a practical setting.