Manufacturing companies in the greater Wilmington area are growing, prospering and in need of employees. That’s the message Cape Fear Community College wants to communicate to the public.
To spark the interest of job seekers, the college is offering a 10-hour class next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday called Pathways to Manufacturing. It’s free of charge to anyone who is unemployed or underemployed and looking for better opportunities.
The course will explore entry-level employment opportunities in the region’s manufacturing sector, which will need thousands of additional employees in the next six years, according to the N.C. Department of Labor. Students will learn about the types and nature of positions available in the area, create a targeted resume, meet with industry partners and leaders and interview with local employers who are hiring.
“It’s a quick course that gives folks an understanding of careers in manufacturing. We’re partnering with five businesses that will share information about their companies and their career opportunities,” said Erin Easton, CFCC’s workforce development coordinator.
“One thing we’re finding out is . . . the community doesn’t understand what a career in manufacturing looks like,” Easton continued. “It’s not a lower-level, dirty job. This is advanced manufacturing: we’ve got a lot of really cool things happening around here.”
For example, Burgaw-based Mojotone, a manufacturer and distributor of guitar amps and related equipment, has a full wood shop, so it needs people with carpentry and upholstery skills. It also has electronic assembly and CNC (computerized numerical control) operations and will train new hires in those skills. Mojotone CEO Michael McWhorter said that the company is actively recruiting and plans to hire five to 10 more manufacturing employees this year.
Mojotone will be represented at Pathways to Manufacturing, along with GE Hitachi, Wilmington Grill, Corning and Sturdy Corp.
“In this environment, there are jobs for everybody,” said John Downing, CFCC’s vice president for economic and workforce development. “There is practically no excuse for somebody not getting a job. We want people to get jobs that pay a living wage. We want to give them skills that give them that living wage and a lifetime career.”
Pathways to Manufacturing takes place Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For details and to register, call 910 362-7883.
In its June 17 cover story, the Greater Wilmington Business Journal explores how area manufacturers are collaborating with community colleges and economic development entities to attract people to careers in manufacturing.