Manufacturing Day event will give high school counselors insight into area workforce needs

A Manufacturing Day event has been planned for June and is being organized by Aiken County Superintendent of Schools Sean Alford, the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership.

The event will be an opportunity for high school guidance counselors to gain knowledge about what manufacturing facilities are looking for in employees. The counselors will tour several manufacturing facilities in the region, including MTU America Inc. and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations-Aiken Off Road Plant. The counselors will also tour Aiken Technical College's Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing, as well as the CSRA Manufacturing and Technology Training Center.

"It is important to prepare high school students for local jobs so that they will stay in our community to pursue career opportunities," Alford said.

“Developing our future workforce is critical to the economic vitality of our community,” 2016 Chamber Chair Fran Jones of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC said. “Today’s manufacturing jobs have evolved into positions that require science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills."

Alford agreed. "There are multiple pathways to success and we are fortunate in Aiken to have access to a thriving university, responsive technical college and burgeoning opportunities for careers in industrial manufacturing,” he said.

Will Williams, president and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership, will be one of the event's presenters.

"Whether I am out recruiting new industry to Aiken County or working with existing industries on expansions, both have the same concern," Williams said. "An available workforce is critical to Aiken County's continued prosperity.”

Alford said one of the event's main goals was to show students opportunities that are available right in their hometown.

"Manufacturing is a vital local post-secondary opportunity offering high-paying work, with opportunities for career advancement,” he said.

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