Vance-Granville Community College held a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Nearly 200 high school students from Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties attended, along with VGCC students, educators and other members of the community. They learned about how manufacturing has changed, local career possibilities in the field and options for education and training related to careers in the industry.
“Manufacturing Day is a national event meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and expose them to modern manufacturing trends,” said Tiffani M. Polk, an academic and career coach with the TechHire program at VGCC. “Our industry partners described the students as highly engaged and inquisitive. Together, I think we were able to reframe what manufacturing is for our future workforce.”
Participating employers included Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Carolina Sunrock of Butner, Dill Air Controls of Oxford, Edwards Inc. of Spring Hope, Fastenal of Raleigh, Glen Raven of Norlina, Home Care Products of Oxford, Mars Petcare of Henderson, Novozymes of Franklinton, Plastic Ingenuity of Oxford, Revlon of Oxford, and Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.
VGCC technical programs were represented, including Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electrical Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. A representative from the Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board was on hand, as well.
Attendees also learned about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), which partners with colleges like VGCC and employers to prepare a skilled workforce. An alternative to the traditional four-year college degree, the program takes a student from high school through a two-year community college program like Mechatronics Engineering Technology, with the guarantee of a job at the completion of the program.
Reflecting on the event, Revlon representative Bonnie Garrett said that “it was nice to get to introduce high school students to our company and to careers in manufacturing that they don't often think about. We rarely get an opportunity like this.”
Joel Bailey of Edwards said it was his company’s first time participating in a VGCC Manufacturing Day event. He noted that Edwards, a full-service industrial general contractor with a specialty fabrication shop, has many job openings and was particularly interested in recruiting graduates of VGCC’s Welding, Electrical Systems and HVAC programs.
The TechHire grant program at VGCC organized Manufacturing Day, with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance (AMSTA), a partnership of VGCC and local K-12 school systems. The North Carolina TechHire program supports advanced manufacturing and information technology training. VGCC is one of four partnering community colleges in the North Carolina TechHire Alliance, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information on TechHire, contact Tiffani Polk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 738-3291.
Above: Students talk with, seated from left, Revlon representatives Bonnie Garrett and Wendy Grissom at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)
Above: Sandy Whitfield from Altec talks with students at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)
Above: Steve Tsotsoros from Dill Air Controls shows some of the products manufactured by his company to students attending Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)
Above: Joel Bailey from Edwards Inc. (center) talks with VGCC Welding student Cedric Rodebaugh of Franklinton at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)
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