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State and Local Workforce Activities

(March 25, 2014)
Advanced Manufacturing Sector: Clemson University Center for Workforce Development-Developed Curriculum Spreads to South Carolina Technical Colleges

Technical colleges across South Carolina have started using a new curriculum developed by Clemson University to help teach students skills they need to land manufacturing jobs. While employers are scrambling to find qualified workers, the average manufacturing technician in the state makes $55,000 a year, a Clemson University statement said.

The curriculum includes virtual-reality simulations and was written by researchers at the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development. It has been deployed to a quarter of the state’s technical colleges and to the Pickens County Career and Technology Center.

The partnerships with the K-12 system and technical colleges are part of the university’s broader effort to advance education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

The four-part curriculum developed at Clemson teaches a range of manufacturing basics, including maintenance, safety and how to use a micrometer. The curriculum helps students prepare for a series of tests that, if passed, earn them certification through the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council.

David Stafford, chief human resource officer for Michelin North America, said “efforts such as Clemson’s advanced manufacturing skills program or Greenville Tech’s efforts to build the Center for Manufacturing Innovation are welcome examples of partnerships between business and academic institutions to enhance the skill set of our workforce of the future.”

The Clemson curriculum does not replace programs that are in place, but it represents one of the newest tools available to them to meet manufacturers’ current needs.