OPELIKA, Ala.- On the eve of National Manufacturing Day, close to 150 high school students from 13 area high schools attended Southern Union for Industry Day.
The goal of the day was to introduce students to careers in manufacturing and high tech opportunities that exist in the area. Representatives from area industries such as Donghee, GE Aviation and more were on hand for the festivities.
The morning kicked off with a panel discussion where representatives from the industries told students about the growing need for workers in manufacturing and gave them tips on how to handle their future aspirations.
Once the panel discussion concluded, students went on tours of different industries in the area such as Pharmavite, Mando, Seohan and more.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said part of the reason why the city recruits new industries to offer opportunities to the young people in the area.
“It’s hard to calculate the full value of what happens over time when someone is working here,” Mayor Fuller said. “They purchase a home, they get married, they have children, then their children are engaged in the community. So, it’s incumbent on the city to make sure we have a good quality of life and have opportunities.”
Mayor Fuller added that the when new industries come to the area, it greatly affects the city schools due to the millage rate for education, and he adds that there is still land at the Northeast Tech Park, and they expect new industries to come to the city.
Once the tours were completed, students came back to Southern Union to learn more about different programs and scholarship opportunities at Southern Union. Southern Union is working with the East Alabama Workforce Investment Network to register the Industrial Machine System Technician apprentice program with the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. This would create many more opportunities for students.
Students that are in Southern Union’s Manufacturing Technology program can gain first hand experience in the apprentice program by getting experience while completing their degree. The program finishes with an Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Technology. To gain entry in the program, one needs to meet the basic entrance needs of Southern Union and enroll in the Manufacturing Technology Program.