UCATC hosting Manufacturing Certification Program information session

Article by: Charles Warner | Union Daily Times

Persons interested in receiving the education needed to get high-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry are encouraged to sign up for the information sessions on a new educational program that will be held Monday, May 19 at the Union County Advanced Technology Center.


In a statement released this week, Spartanburg Community College’s Corporate & Community Education Division announced that it is holding information sessions for a five-week South Carolina Manufacturing Certification (SCMC) program that will be offered this June, July and September. Two of those sessions will be held at the Union County Advanced Technology Center on Monday, May 19 at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


“The SCMC training provides the essential skills for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing,” the announcement states. “Thanks to funding from the South Carolina General Assembly, this training is free for qualified individuals.”


The statement describes SCMC as “an entry-level advanced manufacturing certification that consists of 200 hours of state-funded training comprised of three core certificate programs plus 40 hours of hands-on training in state-of-the-art labs. The certifications include: MSSC Certified Production Technician, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and OSHA 10 - General Industry. Timken, BMW Manufacturing Company, Michelin, and Hamrick Mills served as advisors during the curriculum development, and the SCMC training offered by SCC CCE is endorsed by Spartanburg Steel Products, Duer Carolina Coil, Leigh Fibers, Venture Measurement Company and Inman Mills.”


It further states that “ideal candidates for the program include unemployed, underemployed or veterans looking to start a career in advanced manufacturing. Applicants must successfully complete a drug screen and background check, score silver or better on the WorkKeys test, provide documentation of at least a high school diploma or GED, and show a commitment towards completing the program.”


Robert Leslie, Dean of Corporate & Community Education at SCC, said that manufacturers in Union County are excited about the program’s potential to provide them with the qualified employees they need.


“There are plants here in Union County that are searching for qualified employees,” Leslie said. “Right now they cannot find qualified employees to fill those jobs.


“According to the employers we’ve talked with, they are very positive about this program,” he said. “They feel these graduates will help them fulfill their workforce needs.”


Leslie said that the program is designed to fill the “skills gap” that currently exists between manufacturers in need of skilled employees and persons wanting the jobs those companies have to offer but lacking the skills necessary to do those jobs.


“There’s employers who have job openings in manufacturing, however they can’t fill those jobs because of skills gap,” Lesilie said. “This program will help close that skills gap for potential employers and potential employees.”


Mike Forrester, SCC executive assistant to the president and director of economic development, said that by filling the skills gap, the program can help reduce unemployment.


“The South Carolina Manufacturing Certification is designed to address the skills gap in our state and increase employment rates in our area,” Forrester said. “There are excellent jobs available with local companies seeking individuals with these qualifications, and these companies offer competitive wages and benefits as well as safe, state-of-the-art working environments.”


Leslie said that those who successfully complete the certification program will be Certified Production Technicians whose salaries range from $25,000-40,000. He added that the possibility exists that those who successfully complete the program could very quickly find themselves hired by local manufacturers with jobs to fill.


“There’s at least two companies SCC and the Advanced Technology Center are working with who have job openings they cannot fill,” Leslie said. “Both are large manufacturers and both are in Union County. If a person goes through this and passes the assessments and walks away with these certifications and I was a manufacturer I would hire these individuals or at least take a hard look at hiring them.”


Before this can happen, however, Leslie said that persons interested in the program must register for and attend one of the information sessions at UCATC on May 19. He said that persons who qualify for the program — the unemployed, the underemployed, part-time workers, veterans — will have to pay $20 for a criminal background check and a drug screening, the only fee they’ll have to pay.


Employers who want to upgrade an employee’s skills may enroll that employee into the program, but Leslie said it will cost the employer $2,119 to do so.

For more information and to sign up for the information sessions call the Union County Advanced Technology Center at 864-466-1060.