Grant to bring advanced manufacturing training to Swain

The Golden LEAF Foundation and Duke Energy recently funded a trio of advanced manufacturing training grants, totaling $1.3 million, to Southwestern Community College and several partners.

The funding has ensured that ConMet and other manufacturers throughout Western North Carolina can locally train their employees on the latest technology.

Community partners throughout Swain, Jackson and Macon counties include ConMet, DuoTech Services, TekTone, Franklin Tubular, Jackson Paper, Caterpillar, Hometex and Shaw Industries.

Don Tomas, president of SCC, said the three grants mark the first three phases in an effort to close skills gaps identified by area industries.

“We’re excited about the partnerships we’ve created and communication lines we’ve opened,” Tomas said. “Receiving these grants is a game-changer for SCC and our service area.”

Elements of the grants include:

• $860,000 from Golden LEAF to install the equipment at the Swain County Regional Education and Training Center for workers and students to learn advanced manufacturing skills such as electronics and robotics.

• $220,000 from Golden LEAF for advanced manufacturing training equipment to be housed in the Swain County Regional Business Education and Training Center.

• $250,000 from Duke Energy to help equip SCC’s Jackson Campus for certificate, diploma and degree programs in computer engineering technology, electronics/electrical technology and robotics.

• A STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) education coordinator will be hired by Swain County Schools to help high school students enter this education and training pathway.

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