School counselors to learn about workforce needs

It is important to prepare high school students for local jobs so that they will stay in our community to pursue career opportunities.

Aiken County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Sean Alford, is a strong advocate for connecting students to the full spectrum of jobs in the Aiken market.  Furthermore, he knows that school counselors play a key role in advising, directing and nudging students along, but before they can do that they need a clear understanding of what is available.

To support Dr. Alford, the Aiken Chamber and the Economic Development Partnership have arranged Manufacturing Day in June to assist guidance counselors in understanding workforce needs and tour several manufacturing facilities.

“Developing our future workforce is critical to the economic vitality of our community,” said 2016 Chamber Chair Fran Jones, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC. “Today’s manufacturing jobs have evolved into positions that require science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Critical thinking, positive attitudes, and work ethic are three key elements to success in the workplace. As a major employer for Aiken County, we support showing the guidance counselors the skills future employees need to be successful.”

Superintendent Alford states, “School counselors have a great responsibility to help students make informed decisions about their futures. There are multiple pathways to success and we are fortunate in Aiken to have access to a thriving university, responsive technical college and burgeoning opportunities for careers in industrial manufacturing.” 

The counselors will tour MTU America Inc. and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations –Aiken Off Road Plant. The group will then visit Aiken Technical College to tour the Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing and the CSRA Manufacturing and Technology Training Center. Presentations from Rick McLeod, Executive Director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization, and Will Williams, President/CEO of the Economic Development Partnership will give the counselors insight into the challenges facing the regional workforce and the opportunities this presents to their students.

"Whether I am out recruiting new industry to Aiken County or working with existing industries on expansions, both have the same concern. An available workforce is critical to Aiken County's continued prosperity,” said Williams. “Today's students need to be made aware of all the opportunities they have."

“We are grateful to the Chamber and generous sponsors that are making Manufacturing Day a success in Aiken County and allowing our school counselors the opportunity to experience firsthand the production process at our local industrial facilities. Manufacturing is a vital local post-secondary opportunity offering high-paying work, with opportunities for career advancement,” said Alford.

Guidance Counselors are not under 12-month contracts and will receive a stipend to attend this daylong outing. The sponsors of Manufacturing Day are:

Anderson Plumbing Co., Inc.

Dunkin' Donuts of Aiken

Farm Bureau Insurance - Hagen Agency

Hampton Inn & Hilton Garden Inn - Aiken

Hitchcock Place Senior Living

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Margaret's Garden Adult Day Care


Richard Young Associates, Ltd./Money MD

Public Education Partners

State Farm Insurance - Collette Ball

Stoller Newport News Nuclear (SN3)

Verandas on the Green

  1. R. Grace Co - CONN

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