Boeing prepares workers for North Charleston plant

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Boeing has admitted that choosing North Charleston for its new 787 final assembly plant is an expensive and risky proposition.

One reason is our very green workforce. While the aerospace giant has been building the plant, they've also been building their labor pool. Precision drilling, applying sealants and electrical work are all part of job training for people hired to build 787 Dreamliners in North Charleston.

They are full time Boeing employees paid while learning to do their jobs. But people doing the training are paid by the state.

South Carolina is spending $45 million as part of our commitment to get Boeing here.

Classroom space is courtesy of Trident Tech. The instructors work for "ReadySC" a division of our state technical college system.

The same program trained BMW workers back in the 90s. Boeing's program is bigger and started from scratch with no qualified instructors.

"Today as we speak we have over 50 qualified ready SC employees qualified in over 300 Boeing courses," says Boeing project director Jim Maxon.

South Carolina has agreed to train 3600 workers for Boeing over five years.

The state also buys tool kits used for training. Folks are learning what the workers in the Puget Sound have passed down over 75 years.

"And now a brand new workforce, you can take some of the best of all we've learned up there and embed it quickly and they can learn it quickly," says Boeing SC Vice President Jack Jones.

While the Lowcountry concentrates on filling a brand new plant with workers, Boeing wants to build a workforce pipeline.

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