UNION COUNTY — Welding and Mechatronics are a big part of the economy and persons with the training and the skills in those disciplines are in much demand by industries in Union, the rest of the Upstate, and beyond.
When the fall semester begins in August, the Union Campus of Spartanburg Community College will offer classes in Welding as it has for the past seven years and, for the first time in its history, Mechatronics classes. To make the residents, businesses, and industries of Union County more aware of these course offerings and other services related to those courses, the SCC Union Campus in conjunction with SCWorks will hold an information session on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the SCWorks office on Main Street in downtown Union.
“The purpose of the information session is to provide potential students, job seekers and incumbent workers who may need to enhance their skills, and employers details about the college’s certificate programs in Welding and Mechatronics,” Campus Director Kathy Jo Lancaster said Wednesday. “Both programs are offered in full at the SCC Union County Campus. Students completing these certificate programs can transition seamlessly into SCC’s associate degree offered in each program.”
Lancaster pointed out that the demand for welders and Mechatronics technicians is great in both Union County and the rest of the Upstate as well as the rest of the country and even overseas.
“Welders and Mechatronics technicians are in great demand in manufacturing industries located in Union County and our region,” Lancaster said. “Trained welders are unique in that they can easily shift from one industry to another. Mechatronics technicians are highly skilled employees who use aspects of electronics, mechanics, control theory, and computer science to run processes in our manufacturing-based industries.
“Our industries and businesses in Union County, in the state, in the nation, and internationally depend on a highly skilled and highly adaptable workforce,” she said. “In order to provide that our top priority is to offer training and placement programs to build the skills defined by our businesses.”
Lancaster pointed out that Welding, which the campus has offered since it opened in 2009, has been its most popular class. She said that one of the advantages of mastering this discipline is that welders easily shift between industries making it easier for them to move from job to job, remaining employed and well-payed since starting salaries for welders range from $18 to $25 an hour. Furthermore, Lancaster pointed out that the SCC Union Campus has a 100 percent success rate at getting the graduates of its welding course in a job immediately following — and in some cases before — graduation.
While Welding has been part of the campus curriculum from the beginning, Mechatronics is a new addition which will be offered for the first time beginning Aug. 15. Lancaster pointed out that, like trained welders, Mechatronics technicians are in much demand and, again like welders, have the skills, training, and knowledge that can enable them to meet the growing needs of industries for such workers, thus increasing their chances of quickly getting hired after graduation and remaining employed at good-paying jobs.
SCWorks Director Katherine Pendergrass said the services offered by the SCC Union Campus are important to the future economic development of Union County and the job opportunities it offers county residents.
“Union County is growing, there are industries looking for skilled employees,” Pendergrass said. “We want these companies to fill those jobs here and not have to go outside the county.”
Pendergrass said that the Welding and Mechatronics courses offered by the SCC Union Campus are vital to developing the type of skilled labor pool the county is seeking the make available to industry.
“I’m in this role as SCWorks director because one of the top priorities of our County Supervisor Frank Hart is Union County’s employment and providing a skilled labor force that will meet the needs of the industries of Union County,” Pendergrass said. “My job is to make sure we have a qualified labor force to stream to industry here. The Welding and Mechatronics courses offered at SCWorks are helping us build that labor force that industry needs and helping the people of this county get well-paying jobs.”
For more information about Tuesday’s information session call the Union Campus of Spartanburg Community College at 864-466-1060 and/or SCWorks at 864-427-4119.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.