In the push to get more students into college and on career-ready tracks, fewer and fewer high school students are making the jump into one of the industries that employs the most Americans: manufacturing.
According to David Clayton, director of Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) in South Carolina, the answer lies in part due to a longstanding, oversimplified stereotype that’s pervaded the industry for years.
“The image a lot of people have of manufacturing is that these jobs are fairly low wage, that workers are in a dirty, dangerous environment, or that the work is dull,” he says. But CMI, Greenville Technical College’s fifth campus, illustrates that manufacturing today is anything but. The multi-million-dollar facility is stocked with today’s most advanced manufacturing equipment ranging from steel 3D printers to precision cutters to collaborative robotics that work alongside humans on the factory floor. Students who enroll in programs at CMI can walk away with an associate degree or certificate training in industrial automation, robotics, mechatronics, engineering design, project management and much more.