Some eighth grade students from Sims Middle School got a look at the high-tech present and even more high-tech future of manufacturing during a visit to the Union County Advanced Technology Center Friday morning.
The Sims students visited the UCATC during the annual Middle School Career Day which provides them with a look at the possible careers they may choose to pursue.
UCATC Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster said the event focused on career opportunities in the field of manufacturing.
“This year’s Middle School Career Day focuses on Advanced Manufacturing in order to raise awareness about the endles job opportunities and earning potential in this career path,” Lancaster said. “Students will see live demonstrations and participate in activities to help them see that advanced technology and STEM careers are modern, sophistiated, and use cutting edge technology to create products not only in our local tindustries but throughout the nation as well.”
During Friday’s event, the students toured the facility, attending presentations by the following Spartanburg Community College educators in the following areas:
• Rick Washburn, SCC Program Director for Automated Manufacturing Technologies, who used a KUKA 6 Axis robot to explain the role Mechatronics plays in manufacturnig.
• Marcia Schenck, SCC Department Chair for Computer and Engineering Technologies, who used “Nao The Humanoid Robot” to introduce students to the even more cutting edge future of robotics in the manufacturing field.
• Jason Pace, UCATC’s Welding Instructor, who explained to students the extensive role welding plays in a vast number of areas, many of which people don’t associate with welding.
• Jennifer Little, SCC Director of Career Planning and Placement, and Lindsey Moore, SCC Recruiter, who discussed Career Clusters and Career Paths.
The students were accompanied by Sims Middle School teacher Randall Hanvey who explained that the field trip is designed to change students’ perceptions of manufacturing and the career opportunities it can offer them.
“It gives them a look at what manufacturing is now, the new manufacturing,” Hanvey said. “Manufacturing today is not our mom and dad’s. It is a lot more skilled, cleaner, and higher paying.”
Lancaster also pointed out that middle school is a time to begin preparing the students of today to become the workforce of tomorrow.
“Union County as well as other counties in our region need a constant flow of skilled workers to fill jobs today, tomorrow and ten years from now,” Lancaster said. “That is why it is so important to begin preparing our workforce, especially when students reach the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.”
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