Horry-Georgetown Technical College plans to meet the area’s demand for skilled workers with the upcoming completion of the new Advanced Manufacturing Center on their Georgetown campus, which is slated to open at the end of August.

The 30,000 square-foot facility is 5,000 square-feet larger than the Conway campus facility, said President Marilyn Fore, who along with Associate Dean of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies Brandon Haselden, lead a tour of the almost-completed facility Monday morning.

“Four years ago, we kept hearing how they were in need of skilled workforce in the area,” Fore said. “We knew we had to step up. We chased for the funds, $14 million. It’s going to be one of the best equipped buildings in South Carolina.”

Haselden said that one employer had almost 90 full-time positions open in the Georgetown area. These job opportunities pay upwards of $20 per hour, at minimum, Haselden said.

“There are employers right here in our backyard screaming for employees,” Haselden said.

The new facility includes a machine tool area, a CNC (computer numerical control) lab, a mechatronics area and a welding area that mirrors the expansive welding facility at their Conway campus.

While the facility hopes to keep teacher to student ratios around 1:16 and have around 125 students at a given time, Haselden said they also have plans in the works to become an American Welding Society facility. This designation would also make it a place for employers to send their local employees for certification and training.

“It’s not a college building just for students. It’s a facility for the industry to come in and design parts, train employees and get certified. It belongs to the community,” Fore said.

Haselden praised the school’s wide variety of experiences for students.

“We hope that the diversification of equipment will help produce more well-rounded students,” Haselden said.

Their welding program is a 40-week (two semester) program, and their mechatronic degree is a five semester (two-year) program, he said. 

The facility also honors their dual enrollment program with local high schools, where interested seniors can come and take classes at the facility for credit towards a degree.

Fore said that for those who are wanting to get more training and certification, money should not be an issue keeping them away from enrolling. 

“Thanks to legislators and the state of South Carolina, we have financial aid and funds available,” Fore said.

Haselden said they have a 100 percent placement rate for their graduates.

“The opportunities are out there, we just need the students,” Haselden said. “Fewer and fewer young people are getting into manufacturing. Manufacturing has a hand in everything we put our hands on in daily life … the sky is the limit.”

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