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Career showcase features Manufacturing Day proclamation

Staff //October 25, 2019//

Career showcase features Manufacturing Day proclamation

Staff //October 25, 2019//

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S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster joined manufacturers, educators and 9th graders earlier this month to celebrate manufacturing’s impact on the state during the 2019 Upstate College and Career Showcase in Spartanburg.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster visited with students and exhibitors during the 2019 College and Career Showcase in Spartanburg. (Photo/Teresa Cutlip)“When you think of manufacturing you think of the skill, precision and expertise it takes,” McMaster said. “I want to say to these young people here today, ‘You’re exactly in the right place.’ The main reason manufacturers say they are coming to South Carolina is because of the people and they’re talking about you.

“They say the people of South Carolina will work smart and when they give you their word, they keep it,” he said.

Gov. McMaster proclaimed Sept. 30 to Oct. 4 as S.C. Manufacturing Week and Thursday, Oct. 4, as National Manufacturing Day in South Carolina. He presented the Manufacturing Week proclamation to Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance.

“Advanced manufacturing makes possible a better future through innovation. It connects us with the world as a leader in global commerce and it provides meaningful career opportunities that truly transform people and their communities,” Hazzard said. “The Palmetto State is proud of the more than 5,000 manufacturing facilities that employ over 200,000 of our friends, family and neighbors in all 46 counties.”

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster proclaimed the first week in October as Manufacturing Week. (Photo/Teresa Cutlip)Thousands of ninth graders from Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties participated in the showcase that featured 45 manufacturing and education booths in an exhibit hall.

“It’s a college and career showcase for 9th graders, for them to come and see what’s available in Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties,” said Cherie Pressley, regional workforce adviser for the S.C. Department of Commerce covering Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties. “They’re at an age where they are making decisions about courses they take in high school and we want to encourage them to see the reality of the workforce.”

Among the 45 companies who participated in the showcase was Senator International in Greer. Gregor Ulbrich, business development manager for Senator, said it was important for school-age kids to know what is available in their communities.

“What we are trying to get out of this event here today is to expose the kids to the logistics industry, not just for our company but South Carolina as a whole,” Ulbrich said. “They are our future workforce.”

Ulbrich said about two out of 100 kids who stopped by the Senator International booth at the showcase said they knew someone who worked at the company, “but everyone else has no clue what logistics or transportation are.”

“We have positions for those straight out of high school or college. I think it’s a very interesting field and it’s important for kids to understand that.”

Max Metcalf, chairman of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance board of directors and manager of government and community relations at BMW Manufacturing Co., said manufacturing “is having an enormous impact on our state and on our communities. It has transformed us, and it continues to transform us as we go forward.

“This state is blessed to have so many manufacturing companies come here from the coast to the mountains. These are companies making world-class products right here in South Carolina that then have the opportunity to be shipped around the world or to customers in the United States,” Metcalf said. He said the career and college showcase was an opportunity for students to learn about the future pathways that they can consider for both careers and college opportunities, whether it be the technical college system, four-year college or vocational opportunities.

Hazzard said that as the state’s manufacturing base continues to grow it will continue to need a skilled and ready workforce.

“Through the efforts of SCMA, our business community and our education leadership in the state, working hand in hand with Gov. McMaster and his top-notch team, I’m proud to say that Team South Carolina has the right infrastructure in place to collectively address our workforce needs,” she said. “When manufacturers decide to invest in South Carolina, they can be assured that Team S.C. will do everything we can to make sure they are successful for many years to come.”