$200K will strengthen NSK workforce

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BENNINGTON — NSK Steering Systems America will use some $200,000 awarded through a state job training and workforce development program to bolster its workforce.

The site's Bennington Manufacturing Center of Excellence will "broaden the capabilities of current and future employees," and show them how to use more technically advanced manufacturing processes and equipment, officials say.

It will take one year to train 325 NSK employees, according to a news release announcing the grant.

"As NSK Steering Systems in Bennington enters its 30th year of manufacturing excellence, this training, in conjunction with our Continuous Improvement activities, will prepare the workforce for success in its forthcoming challenges," Michael Allan, NSK Bennington plant manager, said in a statement.

NSK manufactures steering systems, ball and roller bearings, linear motion technology and automotive components. The company's Bennington facility at 110 Shields Drive in the Manelly Industrial Park manufactures automotive power steering columns and electric power steering systems, which are shipped to America and overseas.

The $208,753 Vermont Training Program (VTP) grant was awarded by the state Department of Economic Development.

VTP offers performance-based workforce grants to train employees and new hires for new and existing businesses, according to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website.

In 2016, 32 VTP grants, totaling $1.445 million, were approved, training 639 employees at 41 Vermont companies, according to the program's annual report for fiscal 2016. Fourteen grant agreements, for a total of about $920,000, were awarded to advanced manufacturing companies like NSK.

"Investment in NSK's Center for Excellence will provide training opportunities for Vermont workers for years to come," Governor Phil Scott said in a statement. "Supporting workforce development is critical to growing our economy and creating greater opportunity for Vermonters, making this grant program tremendously valuable for Vermont workers and our businesses."

"This Vermont Training Program Grant will assist NSK Steering Systems' Bennington facility in adapting to new technologies and remaining a strong supplier to the automotive industry," said Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development. "We are pleased that NSK's Bennington workforce will receive training for skills that will position them well for the future."

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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