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Don’t Count Out Human Workers Just Yet

Meg Reinhardt in the plant
Meg Reinhardt, 19, explains some of the operations she helps maintain at LMV Automotive Systems in Liberty, Missouri. (Mike Sherry | Flatland)
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“Robots may be taking over the world, but there’s got to be someone who builds them,” Meg Reinhardt says.

And, thanks to on-the-job training she began in high school, Reinhardt plans to be one of the people who keep those robots going. Think you need a four-year college degree for that? Well, think again.

Reinhardt, 19, is working toward an industrial maintenance certificate through an internship with LMV Automotive Systems in Liberty, Missouri. LMV is a division of Magna International, a global automotive supplier. The company launched its Liberty training center three years ago.

She began working with LMV as part of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies, which serves students in several school districts.

LMV began working with Northland CAPS because it wanted a skilled workforce closer to home, said General Manager Chris Hinman. The partnership has worked; no more does LMV have to search far and wide for qualified employees.

“You can see a (local) 19-year-old kid performing work that we would go out of the country to get people to perform,” Hinman said.

— Kansas City PBS is examining the issue of workforce development as part of its participation in the national American Graduate: Getting to Work project, an initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Follow #AmGradKCPT on Facebook and Twitter for local American Graduate content and #AmGrad to see content from across the United States.

This post has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of LMV General Manager Chris Hinman’s name. 

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