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Middle, high school students learn about local manufacturing jobs

Published Thursday, April 18, 2013
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Piedmont Community College(PCC) hosted an Advanced Manufacing Week open house for middle and high school students on its Person County Campus last week, introducing students to some of the manufacturing careers available locally and highlighting the training programs PCC offers to prepare them for those careers.  

The event, part of a statewide effort to educate students about advanced manufacturing, was the third open house held for prospective students this spring. High school students learned about PCC’s Career and College Promise programs during open houses on March 21 and March 27. All total, some 475 middle and high school students visited the College for the sessions.  

The students learned about local industries and what they produce as well as programs PCC offers to train employees for local manufacturing careers. Representatives of Eaton Corp., GKN Driveline, and Progress Energy participated in the Advanced Manufacturing Day program as well as earlier events that also included Spuntech and CertainTeed representatives. 

 “The industry representatives explained what their company makes and talked to the students about the types of employees they hire and the training their employees need,” said Judy Bradsher, Dean, Technical and Occupational Programs and Career and College Promise programs.   “Fifty years ago, our community colleges were founded on the concept of diversifying our economy to include industry,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, NC Community College System President.

“Today’s manufacturing is a high-tech, high-skill industry and in need of qualified workers. The programs at our community colleges are a gateway to emerging career opportunities.” The manufacturing industry in North Carolina continues to expand; however, employers are struggling to find qualified employees. Manufacturing Awareness Week seeks to increase knowledge among students of career opportunities in advanced manufacturing fields through demonstrations, discussions with leaders in manufacturing and hands-on labs. “The number of students completing technician programs at our colleges recently increased by 60 percent,” says Ralls.

“Yet there is still a need to attract students into these fields. We want to make sure that young people who are just beginning to think about post-secondary education and adults who are looking for new careers are aware of the opportunities available to them.”

Increasing the number of workers trained for technical careers in North Carolina is a system-wide priority. In the past year, the Community College System implemented a complete restructuring of its technical education curriculum in an effort to increase efficiencies and enable students to earn nationally recognized industry credentials. North Carolina is also a lead state for the National Association of Manufacturers Endorsed Skills Certification System, a system of stackable credentials that can apply to all sectors in the manufacturing industry.

For more information about PCC’s Career and College Promise program for high school students or about PCC programs leading to manufacturing careers, contact Judy Bradsher at (336) 322-2211 or judy.bradsher@piedmontcc.edu.