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Upstate readies for Manufacturing Day

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Upstate companies will work with Greenville County Schools, Greenville Technical College and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce during Manufacturing Day 2017 this Friday.

Bosch Rexroth, ABB Baldor, JTEKT, Bausch & Lomb, 3M, BMW Manufacturing Co., Meyer Tool, AFL, T&S Brass, Jarden Plastics, Stueken, Michelin, Nutra, Saint-Gobain, Tower International, Fabri-Kal, Magna, Sealed Air and GE Power will be part of the Manufacturing Day event at Greenville Tech’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation.

Manufacturing Week
in South Carolina

The S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership is planning public events in the first two weeks of October for Manufacturing Week. All plant tours are from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.:

Wednesday — GE Healthcare

The plant is located at 3001 W. Radio Drive in Florence. GE Healthcare occupies a 500,000-square-foot facility where employees build components for magnetic resonance imaging devices and other medical imaging systems.

Thursday — Swiss Krono

The Swiss Krono plant is located at 810 Technology Drive in Barnwell. Participants can see the facility that creates various styles, shapes and sizes of laminate flooring.

Friday — Komatsu

Komatsu’s plant is located at 6416 S.C. Highway 219 in Newberry. The plant tour will allow participants to see the facility that manufactures wheel loaders and forklifts and employs nearly 200.

Oct. 10 — Nutramax Laboratories

Nutramax is located at 946 Quality Drive in Lancaster. The plant researches and develops products that support animal health.

Oct. 12 — Fab Fours

Located at 2213 Industrial Park Road in Lancaster, the Fab Fours plant manufactures after-market bumpers. Note: Company policy does not allow this event to be open to middle school students or younger.

Source: S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership

“Bringing together 19 of our area’s best employers, every high school in Greenville County and more than 400 interested students, our goal is to connect these young people to educational opportunities and high-earning careers in advanced manufacturing,” said David Clayton, executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation.

Students will visit the CMI and tour a local facility and can speak with participating employers about opportunities and careers.

“Anytime we can bring current labor market information to Greenville County students, it is a meaningful experience.  The advanced manufacturing sector is looking for people with strong problem-solving skills who are interested in a high-tech career.  We want our students to know about these great opportunities with these incredible companies right here in the Upstate,” said Marjorie Dowd, director of education and economic development with Greenville County Schools.

During the first two weeks of October, the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership will work with companies across the state to introduce the public to modern manufacturing.

This year, companies like GE Healthcare, Swiss Krono, Komatsu, Nutramax and Fab Fours will open their doors for plant tours in partnership with SCMEP.

The event — started in 2012 has grown from one day into two weeks of factory tours and information sessions where companies and educators partner to highlight advances in the industry.

“We’re trying to get all those coming out of schools to go to tech schools to get two-year degrees in stuff like mechatronics, then go out and have a great career in manufacturing and earn a very good income,” said Chuck Spangler, president of S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Mogul South Carolina Nonwovens Corp. will host a tour of its new manufacturing line from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. Two invitation-only events will be held in the Upstate on Wednesday — Cooper Standard in Spartanburg will host a career showcase with Spartanburg Community College, and ECPI University will also have a career event in Greenville.

Nationwide last year, 595,341 participants, including 267,607 students, took part in Manufacturing Day events, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

“We wanted to correct the idea that manufacturing involved repetitive, unskilled tasks that happened in dark, dirty factories — a ridiculous idea to anyone who has actually worked in manufacturing — and show people what manufacturing really looks like,” the National Association of Manufacturers said on its website.

Introducing people to the state of the industry today is a key component to addressing workforce challenges, Spangler said. Most of the 5,400 manufacturers in South Carolina have fewer than 100 employees, and finding and retaining skilled workers continues to be an ongoing issue.

“It’s a big problem everywhere you go,” Spangler said. “The biggest need we’re seeing right now is as small to midsize manufacturers become more advanced, their employees are not.”

After Manufacturing Day 2016, 84% of students and 91% of educators who took part in nationwide events were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte. That same study found 92% of educators were more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing while 71% of students said they would talk more about it.

All events through SCMEP are free to attend but do require registration. Go online to for details.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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