About 300 students at Greer High School and the J. Harley Bonds Career Center are taking online courses through Clemson University to learn the skills to land jobs in advanced manufacturing.
The online courses developed at Clemson are aimed at teaching soft skills and showing how science, technology, engineering and math can be used in local industry. The skills are in high demand across the nation, including the Greer area, which is home to BMW, the inland port and several auto suppliers.
The courses come from a program packaged as EducateWorkforce, including video lectures, electronic books and virtual reality simulations.
Rebecca Hartley, director of operations for the Center for Workforce Development where EducateWorkforce was developed, said the program helps the education system keep up with automated technologies that are transforming jobs.
“We have worked closely with stakeholders in industry and education to develop EducateWorkforce,” she said in a news release. “Students in high schools and technical colleges around the country are using this innovative approach to learn about advanced manufacturing, and now it is available in Greer.”
Six courses are included as part of the program: soft skills, exploring advanced manufacturing and workforce fundamentals, manufacturing safety, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes and production, and manufacturing maintenance.
Greer High School principal Justin Ludley said some students have already received certificates for completing the soft skills course.
“That’s so important to start emphasizing those skills right now — those social and emotional skills,” he said in the news release. “You can teach people the technical skills if they’re willing. Those soft skills are sometimes the hardest ones to teach.”
Students access the courses through the GreerMade website through the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce. For each course completed, students receive a certificate of completion that helps highlight their new skills to employers.
They are aligned with standards set by Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, a certification agency for workers in manufacturing production and supply chain logistics.
Michael Parris, director at the J. Harley Bonds Career Center, said when students complete a unit, they can print out a document for their portfolios. While some courses are specific to industry, soft skills could apply to all to students, he said.
“I would like to use it for all of our classes,” Parris said.
EducateWorkforce courses have been used by more than 1,000 students in 22 states, mostly in high schools and technical colleges. The program is divided into several courses that can be taken separately or together. Courses offered varies from school to school.