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New Midlands Technical College Facility to Help Develop State’s Manufacturing Workforce

Ribbon Cutting for the Advanced Manufacturing and Skilled Crafts CenterMidlands Technical College officially opened the Advanced Manufacturing and Skilled Crafts Center today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the new 34,000-square-foot, two-story facility.  The center is the new home to many of MTC’s programs that prepare students for careers in advanced manufacturing and skilled crafts, such as Manufacturing Technician, Industrial Mechanics, Industrial Electricity, Industrial Maintenance, Mechatronics and Building Construction Technology. 

“This is truly a great day for Midlands Technical College,” said MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “We are very proud to make this facility available to our academic and corporate and continuing education students.”

Rhames said the college recognizes how important it is for Midlands Technical College students to train with state-of-the-art equipment in a modern, contemporary building. MTC invested $5.35 million in the building and equipment to better train a sustainable pipeline of technical talent to meet local industry’s skilled workforce needs. The facility has 13 labs for hands-on learning, a computer lab, and five traditional classrooms. There is also a student atrium and common area for studying.

 “This facility is a very impressive addition to MTC’s ability to help our students succeed and meet the workforce needs of our community,” said Rhames. 

The needs of the manufacturing industry in the Midlands and the state are growing.  Since September 2011, South Carolina has increased manufacturing jobs by 5.1%, outpacing the overall gain in the United States of 3.3%.  There are more than 5,000 manufacturing businesses in our state.

“The state of manufacturing in South Carolina is absolutely a gold rush right now,” said Tim Galloway, General Manager of Hydradyne, a major distributor of manufacturing equipment in the state.  “South Carolina right now is expanding manufacturing at a rate not seen since the 1950s.”

To keep up with the growing industry, MTC has received state and private support for equipment and scholarship money to grow participation in its manufacturing and skilled crafts programs.  Scholarships are available for many of MTC’s programs that support the manufacturing sector.  MTC’s South Carolina Manufacturing Certification (SCMC) offers full scholarships; and gives students 10 separate manufacturing certifications essential for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing.

“It’s hard (for manufacturers) to find skilled employees,” said Galloway. “Parents aren’t necessary realizing that students can earn a lot more money in this field and invest a lot less time doing it.”

According to the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance the average salary for a manufacturing job in S.C. is $47,200; compared to an average of $35,600 for other jobs in the state. The manufacturing sector employs approximately 15% of all South Carolinians.

Midlands Technical College is joined by other agencies and organizations in the state that are taking efforts to highlight manufacturing careers to potential students.  Today, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and state officials announced South Carolina Future Makers, a statewide campaign to connect the next generation of students in South Carolina to the opportunities, both educational and career-based, in advanced manufacturing.

“Midlands Technical College is truly committed to preparing job-ready employees in these areas,” said Rhames.

Along with college and community officials, MTC students in Industrial Technologies and the South Carolina Manufacturing Certification were on hand to participate in the grand opening event and offered tours of the facility.  

 “Every one of these students is going to be spoken for by a company and is going to be making $40,000 to $50,000 a year,” said Galloway. “There’s going to be 100 jobs for every graduate. Congratulations to MTC for its foresight.”