Greenville Technical College to Transform the Future of the Manufacturing Educational World by Opening the Center for Manufacturing Innovation

Greenville, SC – September 30, 2016 – The Greenville Technical College catapulted themselves into the forefront of manufacturing education with the opening of the Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation. With its official opening on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, this $25 million facility provides 100,000 square feet of classrooms and labs to embody what some are calling one of the top manufacturing education facilities on the country.

The center’s main objective is to bridge the skills gap that is currently present in the manufacturing industry and ultimately increase the number of trained technicians and engineers in the upstate. Greenville Tech President Keith Miller recognized the need for a facility when the state started to recover from the recession in 2010-2011, and it became “critical that [manufacturers] could not find enough skilled workers.”

Being that the United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, it is significant that the CMI can serve as a catalyst to solve this problem. With an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs that are needed to be filled over the next decade, the center is hopeful to achieve their goal of increasing trained manufacturer employees by showing how technologically advanced and cutting edge manufacturing provides an unmatchable educational experience.

CMI executive director, David Clayton, identifies “the big challenge for manufacturing is getting people interested in [manufacturing] careers.” The hope is that the CMI will alter the existing image to show that manufacturing jobs are cool and desirable and not held in the “old shops” of the past like their parents or grandparents might have experienced. With $7 million in equipment including a manual machine lab and three-access and five-access machining centers, the building’s innovative and interactive design is hopeful to change the existing image associated with manufacturing careers.

The Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation will serve as the focal point for educational prosperity of industry. Greenville Tech will offer courses in mechatronics, CNC machining, metrology and robotics, and additive manufacturing. The facility will also be home to a pioneering Manufacturing Honors College where GTC and Clemson University students will work together to solve actual manufacturing challenges. The Honors College will unite 200 Clemson graduate engineering students with GTC students studying to become technicians or pursuing an associate’s degree.

With the official ribbon cutting last Wednesday and classes having begun in August, the CMI is an inventive start to bridge the skills gap present in the United States. Currently the program has around 200 students, although Clayton confirms that it could house double the amount of students or more. Furthermore, Miller suggests Greenville Tech may expand the facility as needed. Named after the Gene Haas Foundation for their important donation of $2 million dollars, this facility is one of its kind. Peter Zierhut, Vice President of motorsports marketing with Haas Automotive, describes the facility as one of the best technical manufacturing facilities in the country and feels confident in its efforts to close the underemployment gaps that are now prevalent. Simply put, Zierhut remarks CMI “really is the beginning of a renaissance in career technical education.”

This blog is a summary of information found on various sources. For more information regarding the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, please visit the Greenville Online and the CMI Homepage.

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