CCCC joins in National Manufacturing Day recognition
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Cathy Swindell, Central Carolina Community College's Director of Industry Services, visits with a ... (more)
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Sam Renfro, a forklift instructor with Central Carolina Community College's Industry Services, shows ... (more)
SANFORD - The Innovation Center at Lee County Industrial Park was abuzz with activity - but not the usual activity that normally occurs at this industry workforce training center.
Instead, school students were in attendance to learn more about industry during National Manufacturing Day, which is described by the national coordinators as a day for manufacturers to "open their doors to demonstrate the potential of modern manufacturing and foster interest in manufacturing careers."
Central Carolina Community College joined in that effort this year with the Innovation Center open house. "This is the first year we've done this," said Cathy Swindell, CCCC's Director of Industry Services. "Jerry Pedley at Mertek had encouraged us to try it and thought this would be a good place. So, we took up the challenge."
Students were able to see the different industry training stations, including forklift demonstrations, and to visit with various local industries that had representatives on hand.
"We're recognizing National Manufacturing Day and bringing these kids in to let them see that the perception of manufacturing is not necessarily accurate," Swindell said. "We're showing them the types of skills that they need, to the opportunity of training, and letting them meet some of the industries that would be hiring them. It gives them a feel for the types of jobs that would be available in manufacturing and how the college plays into that to get people ready to go to those jobs."
Among the companies on hand for the event was GKN. "We're hoping to make sure that kids understand the manufacturing process and about GKN and the kind of opportunities that they have and what we do," said Tyesha White, a human resource business partner at GKN.
Jaylee Paulson, a training specialist in the human resources department at Magneti Marelli, also was among those who spoke to the students at the event. "I hope that this can interest them and encourage them to do well in math and sciences, and look to the future to possibly staying in the area and coming to work for us," she said.
Judy Barbour, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lab teacher at East Lee Middle School, said she expected her students to see technologies that they learn about in the classroom and how they apply to manufacturing. "Basically, I want to make a connection with the manufacturing opportunities," she said. "These are eighth graders, so they're getting ready to go to ninth grade, and possibly think about technology careers or even explore opportunities for credits and going on to the community college."
Shawnteya Hayes and Elizabeth Jackson, of West Lee Middle School, brought their Robotics Club to the Manufacturing Day festivities. "They're having a wonderful time," Hayes said. "They're very excited. One of them shared with me that this is the best field trip he's ever been on."
Swindell says the Innovation Center is an important resource for meeting the workforce training demands of area industries. She works with companies to offer the latest in industry training skills or to design company-specific training that can be done at the Innovation Center or at the company's plant.
"Manufacturing has changed," Swindell said. "Low-skill, low-wage jobs are going away, being replaced. There's more automation, higher skill levels, computer literacy, and more employee involvement in how to do the work. As a community college, we are doing what we can to enhance workforce skills so there are workers ready for the jobs that are out there."
The Innovation Center's Industry Training Center includes an eight-bay welding lab, virtual welder, and portable robotic welding education center. The industrial skills lab provides training on pumps, hydraulics, pneumatics, process controls, and related manufacturing skills. The ITC also houses a simulated work environment (SWE) and a large area for other training.
For more information about industry training through CCCC's Industry Services Office, call 919-718-7212 or 919-718-7490.
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