man demonstrating a pully to students

Montgomery Community College hosted over 300 students, local manufacturers, and industry vendors for Manufacturing Day last Friday on MCC’s campus.

East and West Montgomery High School 11th and 12th graders, Montgomery Learning Academy, and Montgomery County Early College students attended.

In addition to touring the career and technical program areas at the college, the students viewed a live drone flyover of the construction of the new central high school and career technical building. Students watched demonstrations and participated in hands-on activities while they learned about careers in manufacturing and educational opportunities at MCC that prepare students for those careers.

“It was a chance for employers to attract new, future talent to the industry,” said Andrew Gardner, Dean of Continuing Education.

Representatives from Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway, Carolina Dairy, Jordan Lumber Co., Inc., McRae Industries, K-M Machine Co., Inc., Mohawk/Unilin, Myrick Construction, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Montgomery County Emergency Services, MCC Public Safety Drone Academy, and NC Works participated in the event. Companies brought information about employment opportunities, skills/education requirements, and salaries and benefits for jobs in their industries.

“Many people may have heard of the skills gap in manufacturing. Employers are having difficulty finding workers that have the skills for key jobs,” Gardner said. “We’re exploring creative ways to train new talent, including offering apprenticeships,” he said.

The apprentice program recruits high school juniors and seniors for paid, on-the-job training while they are still in school. Students take high school and college classes through their apprenticeship program and their employer pays for their education. When they complete the apprenticeship, the students have the skills and education they need to be highly employable.

“The apprentice program now also recruits veterans and members of the National Guard. We invite any employers to sponsor an apprentice in an area where they are experiencing a skills gap,” said Gardner.

Manufacturing Day is an annual celebration of modern manufacturing during which students, educators, businesspeople, media, and politicians are invited to learn more about manufacturing career opportunities to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

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