In a state with a $25 billion manufacturing sector that accounts for one-fifth of its residents’ wages, every week is manufacturing week. Thanks to Gov. Henry McMaster’s proclamation, October 2-6 is officially Manufacturing Week 2017 in South Carolina.
The manufacturing industry plays a key role in economic growth in South Carolina with more than 5,000 manufacturing businesses in the state, whose average wages of $54,444, 35% higher than average. And it’s growing. Boeing, Volvo Cars, Mercedes Vans, their suppliers, and many others in the Charleston area are growing the manufacturing base even further.
“The growth of advanced manufacturing in South Carolina has presented a challenge to us in higher education to meet the exploding demand for educated talent in STEM and quality manufacturing,” explained Dr. Nancy Muller, director of the state-funded Lowcountry Graduate Center. “We are committed at our North Charleston campus to continue to expand our offerings to meet those needs. We are purposely located with ease of access as a portal to some of the finest academic programs available in the Southeast from top-flight institutions, and with convenient class times for working professionals, in a high technology environment.”
In the proclamation, the governor pronounces South Carolina “the new ‘it’ state for manufacturing” and observes that “South Carolina product lines range from food, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and wood to alternative energy, sports equipment, automotive, and aerospace.”
A coalition of interested groups will celebrate the positive trends during SC Manufacturing Week. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the Lowcountry Graduate Center are partnering to present the Lowcountry Manufacturing and Quality Expo on October 3 and 4 at the Lowcountry Graduate Center.
Keynote speakers include Michael Balke, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans and Vincent Halma President and CEO of Kion North America. Tickets are available at asqcharleston.org/lmqe2017. The Expo will provide an opportunity for people in the field to learn from each other and discover best practices in the areas of manufacturing quality, logistics, and training.
In addition, the group is hosting a Career Panel on Tuesday, October 3rd, at 4:30 p.m. open to interested high school and undergraduate students wishing to learn more about job opportunities in advanced manufacturing in the region. Muller is moderating the Panel discussion. The event is free. Parents and counselors are encouraged to attend as well.
The state of South Carolina, through a variety of channels, has always been a strong supporter of manufacturing, as the influx of new employers attests. In recent years, the Lowcountry has joined the Upstate and other regions in welcoming global players such as Daimler, Volvo, Boeing, and others. The future of advanced manufacturing appears strong in the state for the foreseeable future.
About the Lowcountry Graduate Center
Funded annually by the State, the Lowcountry Graduate Center was created in 2001 as a consortium of the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and the Medical University of South Carolina. These founding institutions, along with the University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, and Anderson University, now offer a variety of graduate degrees and certificates at the Lowcountry Graduate Center. It is also the regional headquarters for the SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP), offering advanced training in principles of quality manufacturing and management. Conveniently located in North Charleston, the mission of the Lowcountry Graduate Center is to increase access to higher education by professionals in the workforce, support the region’s employers, and boost economic development in the Lowcountry.