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Manufacturing Awareness Week

Eighth grade Career Exploration students got the opportunity to hear a guest speaker from ConMet. Human Resource Specialist, Jeremy White, spoke to Mrs. Outen’s and Mrs. Griffin’s classes about his employer and the importance of skilled manufacturing in Union County.

Local manufacturers in Union County are participating in Manufacturing Awareness Week, October 1-5, by connecting with Union County Public Schools. The Make It In Union County program is sponsored by the Union County Chamber of Commerce to enhance the perception of modern manufacturing and to connect or inspire students to local industries that are looking to solve the skills gap crisis.

Representing ConMet, Jeremy White described their process as a leading manufacturer of wheel ends for tractor trailers and trucks. “We take raw metal and melt it and shape it. The molded product is refined and polished for a finished product.” When asked about working conditions, White advised students that they should be comfortable working in an environment that can be hot and noisy. Employees must wear steel-toe shoes, safety glasses and ear protection. “Our manufacturing operations are 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Employees work on a 2 day on-2 day off rotating schedule.”

White educated students about the benefits of pursuing manufacturing jobs. “Our front-line employees earn $17-22 per hour as a beginning salary. Our engineers earn $65-70,000 per year as an entry-level position. We offer summer internships to upper classmen in high school and college level individuals.” Students were amazed to learn that the company offers a tuition reimbursement of $15,000 to help them achieve their career path.

Mr. White showed students the new 253,000 square foot facility for his company to support the growth of ConMet in the automotive industry. Students learned that the building was designed to expand if additional square footage is required in the future. Mr. White added, “ConMet products are standard equipment on every commercial vehicle. We are growing worldwide too. We want to fill up that space with you as a new employee when you graduate high school.”

Students have the opportunity to meet additional Union County manufacturers during Manufacturing Awareness Week during the open house events for October 2-4 at South Piedmont Community College.