For two days, more than 5,000 8th and 9th graders from Pickens, Anderson and Oconee counties had an opportunity to visit with representatives from local companies with the goal of learning more about how to prepare for their future careers.
The Anderson – Oconee – Pickens Business and Industry Showcase, held at Littlejohn Coliseum on the campus of Clemson University, exposed students to careers and companies that they may have previously been unaware of; with a focus on the highly technical positions available at modern manufacturing operations located in the area.
For Ray Farley, Executive Director of Alliance Pickens, the chance for students to learn about the growing number of well-paid advanced manufacturing careers in areas such as industrial electronics, mechatronics, machine tool and robotics is an exciting one.
“Many students are already familiar with careers in fields like medicine, banking and education, but many know little about the well-paying career opportunities that exist in advanced manufacturing,” said Farley. “The Business and Industry Showcase allows students to learn more about those opportunities at a time when these young people are making important decisions about their future.”
“In our community, students are able to take this newfound knowledge, enroll in the outstanding courses available at the Pickens County Career and Technology Center and Tri-County Technical College and become the next in a long line of Scholar Technicians℠; students that excel in the classroom and through specific curriculum and activities, develop the skills required in today’s advanced manufacturing environment,” Farley continued. “The marketplace today is rewarding technical knowledge and ability.”
Participating companies welcomed the opportunity to interact directly with students in an environment that has the look and feel of an industry tradeshow.
“The showcase was truly a great event,“ said John Smith, Production Manager at Tri Tech USA, Inc. in Liberty. “We were able to share our passion for manufacturing with the brightest young men and women in our counties. They were curious, inquisitive and engaging to say the least. They were able to grasp the need for continued learning in the math and science fields and we consider it a privilege to have been able to make an impact on the leaders of tomorrow.”
Roger Powell, HR Manager at Reliable Automatic Sprinkler echoed Smith’s comments.
“Our company sees this as an investment in our future,” said Powell. “We were able to share information about what our company produces, the wide variety of jobs located at our facility and the education and skills those jobs require.“ “It was impressive to see so many young people planning for their future and taking a genuine interest in what we had to say,” Powell added.
Farley praised the efforts of efforts of the companies, noting a record turnout by Pickens County manufacturers.
“For so many Pickens County firms to take two days out of their busy schedules and allocate the financial and manpower resources to participate in an event like this further illustrates their commitment to these students and this community,” said Farley. “These companies just get it.”