Everybody’s talking about the Skills Gap, but Rexroth walks the walk as well as talking the talk. The company has given $62,500 to create a simulation lab at Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation. Rexroth has been one of the supporters of the CMI since its inception. In addition to providing funds for scholarships, Rexroth also donated $420,000 to create a special lab which will be part of the CMI when it opens in the fall.
Both Greenville Tech and Rexroth speak openly about the reason that they are collaborating with other manufacturing companies to make sure that they can produce plenty of excellent manufacturing workers and industrial engineers for the future.
South Carolina was traditionally a textile center, and we all know what happened to textile manufacturing jobs when offshoring became the norm. Much of South Carolina, and Greenville in particular, has now begun to draw in heavy manufacturing.
There’s nothing like massive unemployment as factories shut down one after another to make people leery of training to work in manufacturing.
Reshoring efforts have run up against problems in staffing, for three reasons:
- Qualified workers are reaching retirement age, and many have lingering resentment or at least a lack of faith when they think about returning to manufacturing.
- Those who worked in factories before may not have the skill sets they need for modern manufacturing. Investing in retraining makes sense.
- Younger workers have negative ideas about manufacturing — and so do their parents and guidance counselors, who may be very influential in career choices.
So Rexroth determined to invest in training for a new generation of skilled workers. Government retraining programs like TAA can bring in older workers who need retraining as well.
The investment is paying off already as South Carolina sees manufacturing jobs beginning to increase again — especially in the Greenville area– after dropping for a decade.