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The Ace of Trades

Horry Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) has a blueprint for the future of economic development in the Myrtle Beach area, which will only strengthen our local workforce and homegrown industry opportunities.

Two Advanced Manufacturing facilities are soon due to sprout up on two HGTC campuses: one in Conway on Highway 501 and another on the Georgetown campus. Each facility will boast more than 25,000 square feet, which is enough room for 50 welding booths and about 10 CNC machines, according to Dr. Marilyn Fore, senior VP/ Conway provost, VP Academic Affairs at HGTC.

“It’s so refreshing and invigorating for the college to be going full steam ahead in these careers, along with the help of Horry County and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation,” says Fore.

There’s been a huge demand for classes and programs in machine tooling, welding, HVAC, electrical line and robotics. So much so, that there have been more students on the waiting list than enrolled in classes.

“It’s a great day in the life of the college to be gearing up in these programs and for us to be able to support the economy and support the pipeline for our area’s workforce,” says Fore. “We try to look into where the job needs are and that’s where it helps with Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation to tell us where the needs are. Our ears are always open, because it’s so important to keep students here locally for jobs.”

And that starts with the new Advanced Manufacturing construction that will triple the class space. Right now, the machine and tool classes only have 4,500 square feet and welding has a mere 1,500 square feet. Building costs are about $8 million for Georgetown and $5 million for Conway.

“It helps to have students enrolling in these classes and learning on the best possible equipment,” says Fore.

Fore also reports that a new mechatronics program will make its way to HGTC’s list of classes in 2017. The study combines engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.

These new class offerings and programs only solidify the college’s partnership with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC) to create jobs, a workforce-in-training and industry growth. Most recently, Accent Stainless Steel, a Canadian-based manufacturer of  microbrewing systems, broke ground on its first American headquarters here in the town of Loris. One of the reasons for the company’s expansion to our area?  Access to a quality workforce and available training opportunities through HGTC’s newly implemented welding program.

And even more partnerships are in the works, according to Dr. Fore, in the form of internships with Peddinghaus, Canfor Southern Pine and Conbraco Industries. EnviroSep in Georgetown currently stands as the employer of the highest number of welding grads.

“We also have partnerships with our two school districts in Horry and Georgetown counties in what is called the Technical Scholars programs,” says Fore. “Qualified senior high school students have taken and are taking the advanced welding program and have landed good paying welding jobs.”

Technical Scholars students can earn credits now that apply to both high school and HGTC degree requirements for a smooth transition to college and a head start on national certification for job placement after they graduate.

Career instruction is the standard at HGTC, which offered its first technical class in 1966, and continues to thrive and keep pace with the industry trends and training needs of employers that are already established here and those that plan to move and expand in Myrtle Beach.

HGTC is a living, breathing institution here in Myrtle Beach that’s always prepared to respond to the trends and changing tides of workforce needs with customized training programs that only bolster our area’s economic development.

For program and partnership updates, visit www.hgtc.edu.

 

By Ashley Daniels

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