Going to the Web for Workforce
Workforce initiative goes to the web, video is being shown before movies
Social media activity from the Laurens County Development Corporation - a sure-fire way to reach the workforce of the future - has taken a dramatic upturn in recent weeks, the LCDC board was told March 20.
With the addition of Marketing Director Whitney Robertson, the LCDC is on Twitter, has seen its new workforce development video accessed more than 4,100 times on Facebook, and has enabled the video to receive 1,000 views on YouTube.
The video seeks to attract middle and high school students to careers in manufacturing.
Also, the video is being shown pre-movies at The Capitol Theatre in downtown Laurens. “We need to grow our own workforce, and think differently. Students need to take this idea and not close the door, thinking they can’t afford college,” LCDC Board Chairman Jeff Field said.
The Laurens County Future Scholarship is making two-year degrees readily accessible at Piedmont Technical College and USC-Union, which has a Laurens location. Students who want to go to a four-year college can do so, and straight-to-work or the military is another option for those so inclined.
Robertson said the key is being sure that young people know their options are not limited. In addition to the manufacturing careers video, LCDC is producing promotion cards that feature the young people interviewed in the video. On card for Laurens County A Higher Opportunity features ZF Apprentice Travisia Thompson saying, “I’m graduating from a two-year college, debt-free, tuition paid for, with a job.”
Robertson said, “We want to start the parents thinking as early as middle school about (their child’s) manufacturing career.”
The LCDC has launched a new website to advance this initiative.
LCDC Assistant Director Lynn Finley said the initiative works with industry, the schools and the development agency being on the same page. “We are meeting at the CAM to explain Higher Opportunity and show it to industry leaders,” she said.
Progress is being made toward a manufacturing certification, Finley said, and groups are partnering for an April 24 Job Fair, initially open to high school graduates and PTC students, and later to the public, featuring 18 industries. Preparation programs are being held at the high schools to school students in how to prepare for interviews, how to “present yourself,” and what the companies’ expectations are.
“The CAM” is the Piedmont Tech Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens, a proto-type for education-industry partnership that now is being copied throughout South Carolina - and, it is expanding.
On April 5, 5 - 7 p.m., Piedmont Technical College will play host to an expansion celebration at the 100 Innovation Dr., Laurens, campus. This will be the third expansion for the CAM, and space for its robotics and other cutting-edge techno-education.
There will be new labs and 4,800 sq ft of flexible training space at the Laurens County Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
People attending the expansion celebration will learn more about Piedmont Tech’s K-12 and industry partnerships, and will have the chance to “tour the facility and get hands-on demonstrations of state-of-the-art, industry-standard equipment,” a PTC announcement said.
The CAM is located just off I-385 at Hwy 221 North, near the Walmart Distribution Center and the Hunter Industrial Park, Laurens.
The manufacturing education center is a key component of the LCDC’s “A Higher Opportunity = a HIRE opportunity” supported by the new website, video and promotion cards. Material shown to the LCDC board at its March 20 meeting explains “Higher Opportunity” this way:
“Manufacturing makes up 45% of the workforce opportunities in Laurens County & is constantly evolving, offering incredible income potential. Local higher education programs exist to strengthen & increase the talent in our community. By creating a talented workforce, existing local industries are able to fill jobs with dedicated employees. Having a strong local workforce also attracts other potential industries to our area. Getting trained with a skill, which turns into a high-paying job at a local industry, all while staying local, helps to grown Laurens County.”
(The LCDC workforce video can be seen at MyClintonNews.com; the LCDC workforce website is: www.higheropportunity.com)