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Metcalf: Manufacturing has changed state, workforce development

Manufacturing
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There are more than 5,000 manufacturing facilities in South Carolina. And since 2011, about 66,000 manufacturing jobs have been announced, representing $27 billion of capital investment, according to Max Metcalf, chairman of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance.

Metcalf, who also is manager of government and community relations at BMW Manufacturing, was the keynote speaker during the Annual Employer Impact Awards breakfast for Anderson County.

“More than 250,000 South Carolinians work in manufacturing and 48% of those are in the Upstate,” he said. “More than 14,500 people work in manufacturing in Anderson County.”

According to Metcalf and the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance:

  • Manufacturing wages are 30% higher than other wages statewide
  • More than 250,000 South Carolinians work in manufacturing — 48% of those are in the Upstate
  • 1:3 multiplier effect – every manufacturing job that’s created supports an additional three jobs in South Carolina

Anderson County manufacturing facts:

  • 225 manufacturing facilities
  • More than 14,500 individuals work in manufacturing
  • The manufacturing wages are 29% higher

“At BMW, not unlike Michelin, Bosch and so many other companies, we’re investing in expanding our workforce development, which continues to be the single biggest focus right now in manufacturing in our state,” Metcalf said. “We (SCMA) continue to try to elevate the quality of life of those who are working in the manufacturing industry and those who support the manufacturing industry.”

The S.C. Manufacturers Alliance has more than 200 member companies that employ more than 80,000 South Carolinians. “Many of those are in Anderson County, like Belton Industries, Electrolux, Michelin, Robert Bosch to name a few,” he said.

Metcalf said South Carolina is a different state than it used to be.

“We are blessed to have so many world class manufacturing companies in South Carolina. The opportunities that now exist in manufacturing world-class products every day brings a great sense of pride to our team at SCMA,” he said.

Metcalf said the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance has been working for more than a century to make it the best possible environment for manufacturers and their employers in the state.

“There are a series of services we provide. We advance the state’s manufacturing sector through legislative and regulatory advocacy. We work hard to support a state tax system that’s fair and encourages investment,” he said. “We work to ensure South Carolina has an available and prepared workforce, and we ensure that manufacturers have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.”

The alliance also provides education and networking opportunities throughout the state.

“One of our special initiatives is S.C. Future Makers, which connects students, schools and employers in a very unique way that is proving to be very successful,” Metcalf said.

S.C. Future Makers is a digital infrastructure that provides a way for the future workforce and companies to connect and communicate. Students and companies both can create digital profiles.

James Richter, director of workforce development and member relations for the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, said close to 80,000 students have created profiles through the S.C. Future Makers program.

“We can see what these students are interested in and we can communicate with them,” he said. “It’s empowering the students to showcase themselves.”

Richter also said that within a 25-mile radius of downtown Anderson, more than 7,000 students have created profiles.

“If you are interested in communicating to the emerging talent about who you are and what opportunities you have available, we have a means of communicating with them,” he said.

Reach Teresa Cutlip at 864-720-1223.

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