GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - A new Horry-Georgetown Technical College manufacturing center in the Georgetown area is getting closer to completion.
The Georgetown Center for Advanced Manufacturing is set to open near the end of August to train workers. It is expected to support more than $14 million in new capital investment in Georgetown over the next five years, according to Horry-Georgetown Technical College spokeswoman Sarah Bonnoitt.
During that same time period, Georgetown County employers project there will be more than 240 jobs needed in manufacturing. That’s according to data provided by the college.
“Our employers are struggling everyday trying to attract properly-skilled people," Brandon Haselden, the college’s dean of academic affairs, said. “It’s getting harder to attract people into these career paths. The skills gap is getting wider and wider. The workforce is aging. And, fewer and fewer younger kids are getting into these career paths."
The facility will include a 30,000 square-foot facility with welding technology, machine tool technology, and mechatronics technology programs. There is space for up to 30 welding booths and more than $2 million each in mechatronics and machine tool equipment.
“The Georgetown Center for Advanced Manufacturing will play a vital role in economic development in Georgetown and bridging the employment gap across the state,” says Georgetown Mayor Brendon Barber. “It will produce tremendous opportunities for the people of Georgetown and provide a better quality of life for our residents. We are extremely fortunate to have a state-of-the-art facility like this right in our own backyard.”
“If we train them here, 89% of the students we train remain in their home area," Marilyn Murphy Fore, the college’s president, said. "That’s important to their employer so that they don’t lose someone within a short period of time.”
The $13.5 million used to building the center is funded by a federal government grant, the state capital reserve fund and contributions from Georgetown County and the Georgetown County School District.
“The future of the manufacturing industry will be driven by highly skilled workers proficient in the areas of mechatronics, advanced welding technology and computer-controlled machine tools,” John Thomas, Georgetown County Council Chairman said. “The Georgetown Center for Advanced Manufacturing will prepare workers in our community for that future and provide opportunities for people in the Georgetown region to become some of the most sought-after and highly paid workers in America. Georgetown County is proud to support the development of this facility.”
While the center exists for college students, high school students will also be able to take courses for college credit and local companies will be able to use the facility for customized training for their current employees.
The first classes are set to begin on Aug. 26. The college will then host a grand opening of the facility on Oct. 8. at 3:30 p.m. The center is located in Georgetown at 4003 South Fraser Street.