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Leaders Turn Out for Creators Wanted in S. Carolina

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This week, the Creators Wanted Tour Live continued to disseminate its timely message: Manufacturing jobs are rewarding, well-paying and fun—and perhaps now more than ever, they need qualified people to fill them.

The tour, a project of the NAM and its workforce-development partner, The Manufacturing Institute, is on its second stop in West Columbia, South Carolina, through today. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster stopped by on Wednesday, and yesterday, some more big names turned out to greet students, parents and teachers and talk about the nation’s need for more creators.

Big challenge: “The challenge is truly significant,” MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee said at the event. “We have over 900,000 jobs open in manufacturing today.”

  • Creators Wanted, the program of which the mobile experience is a part, aims to help close the skills gap through the recruitment of 600,000 workers by 2025, Lee said.
  • Creators Wanted also seeks to increase by 25% the number of students enrolled in technical and vocational education and upskilling programs.

Big reward: NAM board member and Nephron Pharmaceuticals Owner and CEO Lou Kennedy, host of the West Columbia tour stop, actively recruited the job seekers in the audience.

  • “What I hope you’ll learn from your experience as you go through this super-cool truck behind me is that manufacturing is a new way to make money, and great money,” Kennedy said, gesturing to the Creators Wanted mobile experience. “The average wage at Nephron is over $73,000 a year, so these are great-paying jobs.… We hope that you’ll be inspired today to join us or join my friends at other companies across South Carolina.”

“The first option”: South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette echoed Kennedy’s hopes for the event’s audience—and said that perceptions about manufacturing and technical career paths are changing for the better.

  • “Going to technical school is not a second-tier option anymore,” Lt. Gov. Evette said. “It is the first option for most of the students coming out of high school.… Thank you for being here today. Your eye is on the prize, and the prize is manufacturing here in South Carolina.”

A place for everyone: South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Morgan and Trane Technologies plant manager Gregg Krick underscored the health of the manufacturing sector in South Carolina.

  • “The state of manufacturing in South Carolina is strong,” Morgan said.
  • Said Krick, who “start[ed] on the plant floor” at heating, cooling and ventilation-system maker Trane Technologies, “If you’re wondering if manufacturing is the place for you, take it from me—there is a place for you in manufacturing.”

The last word: Rounding out the program was NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, who reiterated the need for applicants in manufacturing—and shared an anecdote from his family history.

  • During the Great Depression, “my grandfather left his family farm and … stood in line every day for six months” to get a manufacturing job. He finally landed one due, Timmons said, to sheer perseverance.
  • “Today you don’t have to do that,” Timmons said. “You can look around and see what jobs are most exciting to you, and you can fill out an application and you can get hired.… According to the MI and Deloitte, we will have 4 million manufacturing jobs to fill between now and 2030.…  These aren’t just numbers—these are opportunities. Manufacturing jobs are opportunities to earn not just a great living with excellent benefits; they’re also an opportunity to have fun.”

In the news: The second stop of the tour continues to receive widespread attention, with Fox 57 capturing student and teacher reactions to the campaign.

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