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Students explore careers during manufacturing week

11 October 2014

By Deb Coates Bledsoe, Courtesy of the Communications Office of the Union County Public Schools

Hundreds of Union County Public Schools students went behind the scenes to see what it takes to be a manufacturer.

UCPS joined South Piedmont Community College and the Union County Chamber of Commerce for Manufacturing Awareness Week.

“The whole point of this week is to increase awareness about the benefits of manufacturing,” said Union County Chamber of Commerce president Pat Kahle. “We’re looking at what is made here in Union County and why it’s important to have manufacturers here. It’s about looking at the diversification of our tax base, supporting our school system, supporting our infrastructure and creating job in Union County.”

Kahle said the event was open to Union County Public Schools students in order to help them make career choices.

“This is about helping young people who are trying to figure out what their career choices may be, helping parents who might be trying to guide their students, and about letting educators know that there are very good paying jobs in manufacturing here in Union County and that it’s a great career choice,” Kahle said.

Tours were held on Sept. 30. at Greiner Bio-One and Goulston Technologies, Inc.; and on Oct. 1 at QEMS and SAFRAN Turbomeca USA.

Greiner Bio-One North America, Inc. is a privately held plastic manufacturing company located in Monroe. Its four divisions manufacture a variety of plastic products for the medical and research fields. Goulston Technologies, Inc. developes chemistry and processes needed to manufacture fiber lubricant products.

Quality Electronic Manufacturing Services, Inc. (QEMS) is a manufacturer of printed circuit board assemblies, cable assemblies, and electronic systems. In addition, the company produces a wide variety of cable assemblies and cable harnesses.

SAFRAN Turbomeca specializes in the design, production, sale and support of low to medium power gas turbines for helicopters. Including its joint programs with other manufacturers, Turbomeca is the world’s leading provider of helicopter engines, with customers including the US Army and the US Coast Guard. Thomas Assaid, a line manager at SAFRAN Turbomeca, led tours through his facility. He explained what the various high tech pieces of equipment did in the process of making helicopter parts.

Samia Usmani, and Elizabeth Reidy, both 10th graders at Marvin Ridge High School said they enjoyed the tours and felt they had learned a lot.

“I didn’t really know much about manufacturing,” said Reidy. “This is totally different than what I thought it would be.”

“The robotics was really cool and to see how it all works,” Usmani said. “The things they make her are so important for every day stuff like helicopters.”

A Manufacturing Showcase, Network with Manufactures was also held at South Piedmont Community College on Oct. 2.

Union County Public Schools Career and Technical Education, South Piedmont Community College and a few manufacturers also shared Career and College Promise Pathways, internship and apprenticeship opportunities available to students and to guidance counselors at an afternoon session at South Piedmont Community College on Oct. 2.

Local manufacturers, the Union County Chamber of Commerce along with Monroe Union County Economic Development provided an added incentive for the school system.

The high school with the greatest participation will receive $3,000 to invest in new STEM technology. The student who is the most active in social media using #makeitinuc will win an I-Pad Air. Winners will be announced later this week.

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