Students to be 'expo'sed to manufacturing careers

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 4/10/18

In their continual effort to educate school-age children and their parents on local career opportunities in the manufacturing field, area economic development partners will host the second-annual Manufacturers and Technology Expo on Friday.

A …

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Students to be 'expo'sed to manufacturing careers

Posted

In their continual effort to educate school-age children and their parents on local career opportunities in the manufacturing field, area economic development partners will host the second-annual Manufacturers and Technology Expo on Friday.

A Sumter Economic Development Board spokesperson distributed a news release on the event last week.

Area manufacturers and other companies will have displays set up at Friday's expo at Central Carolina Technical College's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center, 853 Broad St., and will interact with about 350 eighth-graders from Sumter School District. The expo is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interactive technology and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related activities are planned for the students, in addition to a tour of CCTC's relatively new facility.

The purpose of the event is to allow students to be "'expo'sed" to the advanced technology used in today's manufacturing and pique their interest in local careers that offer competitive wages and benefits, according to the Sumter Development Board. Roughly 50 eighth-graders from each of the district's seven middle schools are scheduled to attend, according to the development board spokesperson. Students from St. Anne and St. Jude Catholic School are also scheduled to attend.

According to widespread research, manufacturers are constantly moving to more cutting-edge technology, including robotics, and need a skilled workforce in order to fill the jobs of today and the future. Traditionally, manufacturing jobs across the country were more labor-intensive, required less education and paid less wages.

Long considered an industrial community with a high concentration of manufacturing jobs, Sumter County has also seen these changes in the sector in the last 20 years and needs a technically skilled workforce to fill local employers' needs.

"The importance of introducing students early and often to the advanced technology used in today's manufacturing is critical to the success of our region," said Jay Schwedler, president and chief executive officer of the Sumter Development Board.

In addition to the Sumter Development Board, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance, which also includes Lee County, and the Regional Workforce Area of the state Department of Commerce are hosting the expo.

Recognizing that parents are highly influential in the career-decision making of their children, event organizers will also host a pre-expo reception for parents of the eighth-grade attendees on Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the advanced manufacturing training center. At the reception, parents will be able to interact with local and statewide industry leaders and get a glimpse of Friday's program offering for their children.