Manufacturing continues to make headlines around the region. Year to date, there have been six announcements, totaling 1032 direct new jobs and $850 million in new capital investment. From energy storage and fiber optics to paper and additives, Charlotte USA has indeed become an advanced and diverse manufacturing hub. A quick recap in case you missed that news:
- Inteplast Group’s AmTopp announced an expansion at its stretch plastics plant in Charlotte, adding 19 new jobs and $18 million investment in new equipment.
- Non-woven industrial fabric maker, Oxco, Inc. announced a move to York County (Fort Mill) with 130 new positions and approximately $13 million investment.
- Energy storage company Alevo announced an expansion to its Concord production plant that will add 200 jobs over five years and a $251 million investment in the facility. The company plans to work with the North Carolina Works Career Center and Rowan Cabarrus Community College to train new workers.
- Corning announced they will invest $176 million in facilities in Catawba and Cabarrus counties, creating 410 jobs over the next two years (200 in Midland and 210 in Catawba) -- $67 million for a new optical cable manufacturing facility in Newton and $109 million to expand its existing optical fiber manufacturing facility in Midland.
- Clearwater Paper Corp. announced the expansion of its operation in Cleveland County, creating 180 new full-time jobs. They will invest $330 million in the construction of a new facility, machinery and equipment over the next three years as part of the expansion.
- Switzerland-based Oerlikon announced they will create an additive manufacturing hub in Huntersville, the company’s first in the U.S., investing $63 million and creating 93 high paying jobs.
With all these manufacturing jobs coming to the region, manufacturing-focused workforce development initiatives are more important than ever. Two great examples include:
Lincoln Economic Development Association’s (LEDA)’s award-winning Manufacturing A Future That Works Program capitalized on its great relationship with both its industry and Lincoln County Schools, engaging both in the development of an advanced manufacturing strategy designed to bolster the local manufacturing workforce. The initiative targeted elementary, middle and high school age students encouraging them to consider careers in manufacturing. At the elementary and middle school level, Engineering is Elementary and Cyber Kid Robotics programs were launched. For Lincoln County High School students, an advanced manufacturing curriculum was designed by local manufacturing leaders to help make them “operator ready” upon graduation. In related news, LEDA’s Kara Brown, who was instrumental in this initiative, was promoted this week to Business Development Manager. Congrats, Kara!
And in Gaston County on March 23, Edge Factor is partnering with Gaston County’s Workforce Solutions Action Team on Ignite Your Future: Introducing Students to Profitable Career$, an event designed to get students and their families excited about the power of CTE (Career and Technical Education) and careers in advanced manufacturing. Ten participating Gaston County High Schools will bus in over 400 students to attend an Edge Factor Live event. With cinematic Edge Factor media and a motivational message by Jeremy Bout, Founder of Edge Factor, it will inspire families to view manufacturing and CTE in a new light and help empower students to discover a new career path. On the same day, there will be an evening event open to any other students, parents and community supporters to attend. Along with the live events, Gaston County Schools has sponsored 10 schools with memberships to Edge Factor’s Netflix-style educational platform of media and interactive activities that bring STEAM, CTE and advanced manufacturing to life in classrooms.
Of course we know there are others. We are just highlighting a few and always want to hear about others as part of our Charlotte Regional Workforce Development Partnership (CRWDP).
P.S. A reminder if you have blog topic ideas or you would like to be a guest blogger for Around the Region, please email email@example.com
Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO