Free trade classes for adults coming to N. Charleston Community Resource Center

The Community Resource Center in North Charleston will soon offer free classes for any adult who wants to learn skills for manufacturing jobs.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:08 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Through a private partnership with Neal Brothers Distribution, the Community Resource Center in North Charleston will soon offer free classes for any adult who wants to learn skills for manufacturing jobs.

Neal Brothers is investing in the program so the courses are free for adults. Neal Brothers CEO Daryll Ray Griffin says it’s important to acknowledge that college is not the only path. He believes the program will help expand their recruitment and support their workforce.

“The Community Resource Center is the epitome of giving a helping hand so Neal Brothers will always be a part for the Community Resource Center,” Griffin said.

The program has support from State Representative Wendell Gilliard who emphasized how important trade skills are and acknowledges how big the industry is in the Lowcountry. He says he plans to pre-file a bill for the second time next legislative session about manufacturing education.

“The bill will call for us to infuse in the curriculum in the State of South Carolina for the first time that we will teach our students advanced manufacturing,” Gilliard said.

Charleston County School Board member Courtney Waters says the trade industry is now included in the general discussion of education paths early on, but for many parents who didn’t have this option – they now have the opportunity to take classes.

“We have to wrap our arms around the parents who were not served by our education system decades before them. So, I appreciate so much this partnership with the private industry to bring necessary education to parents because we have to make sure we are providing support to entire families,” Water said.

She also mentioned her time working in the industry during the announcement and expressed her excitement for seeing other people discover what the job has to offer.

“As someone who was once upon a time forklift certified and worked in an advanced manufacturing facility, I really appreciate that this is the type of skill that gets someone above the entry-level salary and allows them to attain a skill,” Waters said.

Louis Smith, the Executive Director Community Resource Center, says the program is prepared to handle about 200 students. The center’s North Charleston campus features multiple classrooms and forklift training will happen on-site.

“We have partnered with many people throughout our community to make this happen. We want to make sure that all of our adults are able to get a decent job and a decent education. And as you know, the majority of the jobs now are going toward mass production,” Smith said.