In North Carolina, Training, Credentials, Caterpillar and Jobs

Big news in North Carolina last week, with Caterpillar Inc. announcing construction of a new manufacturing and assembly facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to serve the company’s growing global mining operations. The new operation will center on an approximately 850,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for machining, assembly, test and painting of axle assemblies for large mining machines. Five-hundred direct jobs could result.

From the release, “Caterpillar Continues Expansion of Mining Operations; Announces New Facility in North Carolina“:

“Caterpillar has worked hard with many local partners in North Carolina, and we thank them for their assistance during the site selection process,” said Hans Haefeli, Vice President of Caterpillar’s Advanced Components & Systems Division. “We look forward to establishing our new lower powertrain facility in Winston-Salem, which will allow us to substantially increase our capacity, improve process capability, flexibility and flow of our operations. This location will improve our supply chain efficiency and, as a result, allows us to better serve our customers more effectively while reducing operating costs.”

We appreciated the coverage of The Winston-Salem Journal. Its story, “FTCC’s offering helped attract Cat,” highlighted the role of Forsyth Technical Community College and President Gary Green in ensuring Caterpillar of the availability of high-quality workforce training. And, the Manufacturing Institute merits kudos, too.

Caterpillar may also have been swayed by Forsyth Tech’s involvement in the Manufacturing Institute, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers that is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Forsyth Tech is one of four community colleges in the country participating in the pilot program, which gives students a chance to learn skills in the classroom while acquiring certifications that are recognized by industry. The goal is to better prepare entry-level workers. Students in such areas as welding and machine technology will be eligible for those added credentials. They will have some of the skills that will be needed at the Caterpillar plant, which will produce axle assemblies for its big mining machines.

For more information about the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, go to www.manufacturingskills.org. Coverage…

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