High school students and others who are interested in careers in manufacturing will have an opportunity to learn more at two open house events at Edgecombe Community College in April.
In observance of N.C. Manufacturing Awareness Week of April 7-10, ECC is hosting two nights of Open house on April 7 and April 9.
The goal is to raise awareness of advanced manufacturing occupations, especially for students who are in the process of choosing a career.
The events will be held in the Havens Building on the Tarboro campus.
The first open house is set for 6 p.m. April 7. It will focus on Computer-Aided Design Using Solid Works Software. The second open house will be held at 5 p.m. April 9 and will highlight Industrial Robots and Hydraulic/Pneumatic Control Systems.
In 2012, manufacturing programs at ECC were strengthened by a $1.2 million federal grant. Since then, the college has purchased state-of-the-art equipment, such as industrial grade robots, according to Dr. Paul Petersen, project manager for the N.C. Advanced Manufacturing Alliance at ECC.
About 90 students are currently enrolled in ECC’s five manufacturing-related programs: industrial systems, electrical/electronics, manufacturing technology, facility maintenance, and mechanical drafting.
“Our students are finding jobs,” said Nancy Hobbs, recruiter for the program. “In addition to teaching job skills, we help them prepare resumes and cover letters and help them improve their interview skills.
“Also, our internship program is growing. So far we’ve placed two students in local industry – Keihin Carolina System Technology and Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant – and we’re working to add more internships.”
One unique aspect of the manufacturing technology program in particular is that all classes are held in the evening. “We have about 45 students in our evening program,” Petersen said. “Many work during the day at least part-time and most work full-time. Offering an evening program makes college much more convenient for these students.”
Last fall, ECC began offering a Career and Technical Pathway in the industrial and engineering technology field to Edgecombe 9th and 10th graders. Through this pathway, high school students can earn an engineering certificate in mechanical drafting or a certificate in manufacturing technology.
“The Career and Technical Pathway already has become a very strong program,” Petersen said. “Rising ninth graders can attend our Open house events and learn exactly what courses they need to take in high school.
“In addition to earning a certificate, students can apply these courses to an associate degree at ECC. Local industry is very excited about getting students involved while they’re still in middle school and high school.”
A new component in this year’s Open house is an essay contest for middle and high school students. Students should focus on the topic, “What does manufacturing look like in Eastern North Carolina?”
Middle school students should submit two to three typed pages, and high school students should provide three to five typed pages. The essays are due during open house.
Prizes will be awarded. Students who are interested in participating in the essay contest should contact their school counselor.
In addition to learning about pathways to advanced manufacturing careers, open house guests will meet with business and industry leaders and participate in hands-on demonstrations of advanced manufacturing equipment.