SCC announced its most recent grant awards Thursday that will be applied toward a $7.7 million education and training facility to help meet the future employment needs of industries in Cherokee County.
The Timken Foundation in Canton, Ohio, has made a $150,000 donation for equipment purchases for the college’s new Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies (CAMIT) building. A check presentation was made by The Timken Company’s Gaffney Bearing Plant Manager John Milko to SCC President Henry Giles before an advisory committee meeting on the Cherokee County branch campus.
The CAMIT training facility is part of efforts to prepare more students for critical needs in the Upstate workforce such as advanced manufacturing, industrial and engineering technologies, business and computer technology.
The college has received a $1.1 million federal Education Development Administration grant and a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Council of Governments in the past two weeks. The latest donation from The Timken Foundation will be used to outfit the college’s new building with the latest advanced manufacturing equipment critical for training the next generation of workers.
“This is really for the community,” Milko said. “This is a partnership between education, industry and the community. It is an investment to strengthen our community and help train future workers in Cherokee County.”
Employees aging out of their jobs could have a severe effect on the Upstate’s economy. Of the region’s workforce, 27 percent work in manufacturing, compared to 10 percent statewide.
Giles noted a job market survey projects 23 percent of the current 179,000 workers in Cherokee County will become eligible to retire in the next decade. Giles said the CAMIT training facility along with education and business partnerships are vital to ensure Cherokee County is positioned to meet the future employment needs of local industries.
“If you project a straight line for the survey numbers over the next decade, we will graduate 3,600 students from high school every year in the tricounty area of Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union. Our manufacturing companies expect they will have 4,100 workers retire every year in this same time period,” Giles said. “This is one reason we will have a worker shortage over the next decade. We cannot afford to lose any students. We will need to graduate as many students as we can to shore up the workforce.”
Spartanburg Community College currently expects to hold a bid opening Oct. 20 for contractors for the CAMIT building. Giles said the college hopes construction can begin in mid- November so the training facility can open for students next fall.
“We believe the CAMIT training facility is vital to our efforts to further our college’s mission to provide education and job training to help meet the workforce needs of business and industry,” Giles said.
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