Monday, 21 October 2019 14:18

RichmondCC students learn about internships touring local companies

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Richmond Community College students get a first-hand look of the operations of American Woodmark during a recent tour of the Hamlet plant. Richmond Community College students get a first-hand look of the operations of American Woodmark during a recent tour of the Hamlet plant. RCC

HAMLET — Richmond Community College recently partnered with six local manufacturing companies to allow students to tour the facilities and connect the concepts they are learning in the classroom to real-world operations.

“The students had a VIP tour that took them around the industry to view the manufacturing process of the particular product they make. They spoke with plant managers and engineers and learned of the need for trades workers, from maintenance people to welders to supervisors,” said Administrative Assistant for Career and Transfer Services Lori McLaughlin. “They also explained the company’s mission in partnering with the college’s programs and hiring students for internships and eventually full-time positions.”

One of the largest needs for local employers is to fill industrial maintenance mechanic positions. In Richmond and Scotland County, the average pay for an industrial mechanic is $18 per hour with some companies paying as much as $23 per hour. The plants that the students toured — Plastek, ITG/Burlington Industries, American Woodmark, Global Packaging, Knit-Rite/Therafirm and Pilkington/NSG — all hire industrial mechanics.

“The whole idea of the partnership between Richmond Community College and Plastek is to share our opportunities within the community. What better way to share than to open the doors and let the next generation of Richmond County residents see the potential of jobs in their backyard,” said Plastek General Manager Aaron Doehrel. “Plastek/Hamlet not only ships products around the world, but also brings equipment from around the world to Richmond County, plus the jobs working with that technology.”

Ross Mason, assistant plant manager at Knit-Rite/Therafirm, said he was impressed with how engaged the students were in learning how their classroom studies could be applied on the job.

“The recent plant tour was also rewarding as we were able to provide a glimpse of manufacturing to an attendance of diverse students. We were excited that those working toward degrees in industrial manufacturing, engineering, business administration and welding could experience a manufacturing environment first-hand,” Mason said. “Programs like this will ensure a healthy future for industry in Richmond County and Therafirm is excited to be a part of it.”

Students also enrolled in Mechatronics, Mechanical Engineering, Machining, Computer Engineering and Electronics Engineering took part in the tours.

Javier Cristobal, who is in the Business Administration program at RichmondCC, found the tours very helpful and eye opening.

“I was not familiar with any of these companies or what they made, so it was all new to me,” said Cristobal of Marston. “Because I am prior military, Burlington caught my attention since that’s where our uniforms came from.”

Cristobal, originally from California, was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville while serving in the Marines. While on the tour at Burlington, he said he was able to learn about supervisory roles and positions in human resources and is hoping to be able to fill an internship position at the Cordova plant.

Two dually enrolled students Gwen Macedo, 16, and Hayden Hadinger, 15, also went on the plant tours and enjoyed learning about the many products made by local companies.

“I was very surprised to know that Pilkington makes glass. That was pretty cool,” Macedo said.

Macedo is home schooled and is taking a welding class at RichmondCC, but she’s also considering a career in the military as a paratrooper.

“I thought the tours were good and I got to learn a lot of new stuff.”

Like Macedo, Hadinger is also homeschooled and taking advantage of the free dual enrollment classes at the College. He said he could see how the welding skills he’s learning at RichmondCC would benefit him if he decided to take a job or do an internship at one of the local companies they visited.

“We appreciate all of these companies opening their doors to our students and strengthening the partnership RichmondCC has with local industries,” said Dr. Devon Hall, dean of Applied Sciences and Engineering. “We hope these tours will result in building a stronger workforce for these companies.”

The College is continuing plant tours this fall with two stops planned in Scotland County at Edwards Wood Products and Service Thread.

For more information about enrolling in a program at RichmondCC, call 910-410-1730.

Companies that would like to partner with the College for tours can call McLaughlin in the Career and Transfer Center at 910-410-1722.