Students from across Beaufort County Community College service area got a look Tuesday at advanced manufacturing career opportunities in the region at an Open House that was part of Advanced Manufacturing Career Week across the state.
BCCC was one of several community colleges in the state to offer events, in partnership with the local schools and business and industry, designed to reach out to middle and high school students, as well as adult learners, in an effort to increase awareness of career opportunities in advanced manufacturing fields.
"More than 40 years ago, this community college was founded on the concept of training our students to prepare for jobs in local industry," said BCCC President Barbara Tansey. "Today's manufacturing is a high-tech, high-skill industry and in need of qualified workers. The programs at BCCC are a gateway to emerging career opportunities."
The manufacturing industry in North Carolina continues to expand; however, employers are struggling to find qualified employees. Manufacturing Awareness Week seeks to increase knowledge among students of career opportunities in advanced manufacturing fields through demonstrations, discussions with leaders in manufacturing and hands-on labs.
The number of students completing technician programs at community colleges statewide recently increased by 60 percent, but there is still a need to attract students into these fields.
"We want to make sure that young people who are just beginning to think about post-secondary education and adults who are looking for new careers are aware of the opportunities available to them," Dr. Tansey said.
During the Open House, students, local community leaders and members of the public toured BCCC classrooms offering training in electrical, mechanical and welding.
Students from Washington High School and local home schools watch Beaufort County Community College Welding Instructor Ted Clayton demonstrating some of the advanced welding machines used in industry at an Open House on the BCCC campus Tuesday (Contributed photo/Beaufort County Community College).
Programs at BCCC have been updated recently to prepare students for these emerging careers thanks to a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The grant was awarded to 10 community colleges that formed the North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance.
As a member of that alliance, BCCC was awarded $2.2 million over a three-year period that includes funding for equipment to upgrade its electrical, machining and welding programs, among others, to meet industry needs.
Beaufort County Community College is a public comprehensive community college committed to accessible and affordable quality education, effective teaching, relevant training, and lifelong learning opportunities for the people served by the College.