An Answer for South Carolina’s Manufacturing Skills Gap

SCWith one of the fastest growing economies in the country and a thriving manufacturing sector, South Carolina is a land of opportunity. Since 2011, manufacturing job growth has risen over 13.5% in the state — nearly double that of other states. But with all this growth comes a problem: a shortage of trained, skilled workers to fill available positions. That’s where South Carolina Manufacturing Certification (SCMC) comes in.

Established in 2013, SCMC is a hands-on training program formed to help individuals learn the unique skills needed for mid-level manufacturing positions. SCMC fills a void in traditional education by offering training in the advanced math, science and technology skills needed for modern manufacturing. And unlike some degree programs, which require years in the classroom, SCMC consists of just 200 hours of training. Participants can earn one of eight certifications, including an OSHA 10-hour safety card, a Six Sigma yellow belt certification and a national MSSC credential in safety, quality, production systems and maintenance awareness.

One of the key features of SCMC is its affordability. Unlike many training programs, SCMC is fully funded by the South Carolina Legislature, with money allocated to every technical college in the state. Students are required to pay just $20 for applicable fees, making it a viable option for nearly every interested applicant.

After successful completion of the program, graduates are fully prepared to begin mid-level manufacturing jobs. Although the program is still new, it’s already achieved success, with over 80% of its graduates working in manufacturing jobs and earning an average of $12.73/hour. Employers include Koyo Bearings, Kroger Bakery, Yokohama, Robert Bosch, St. Jude Medical and Michelin.

With over 1,346 graduates in its first two years, the program has already been successful with participants. But even more importantly, it’s been highly rated by South Carolina’s manufacturers, who say the graduates are more skilled and well-trained than all other applicants. If funding for this invaluable program lasts, South Carolina may have found an answer to its critical shortage of workers

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