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November 11, 2016
Piedmont Technical College’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) is continuing to expand to meet the needs of industry in Laurens County.
The facility, which opened in 2012, will begin work on Phase Three construction after the first of the year with completion slated for fall 2017. The current 4000 sq. ft. flex space will be converted to a board/meeting room, two classrooms and additional office and storage space. An additional 4800 sq. ft. flexible lab space will be added to the facility.
“These expansions are going to make this facility even more usable and more flexible,” said Chris Lipp, director of the CAM. “This will help our ability to serve the public because there will be no wasted space.”
The CAM came about thanks to a partnership between Piedmont Technical College, the PTC Foundation, county and city governments, Laurens County Economic Development Corporation and local industry. The facility was initially planned to provide readySC, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, with a dedicated space to meet ZF Group’s initial training needs in collaboration with PTC industrial faculty. However, industry leaders throughout the county saw the Center’s potential to benefit their operations.
Since it’s opening, the CAM has served more than 30,000 individuals and averages 100 students per week for industrial training as well as Piedmont Tech curriculum classes. The Center has provided training for more than a dozen different industries as well as supplied a location for groups ranging from the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and Laurens County Development to staff development for middle school and high school guidance counselors from Laurens District 55 and 56.
The CAM is also the home for an apprentice program created by ZF Transmissions, in cooperation with Piedmont Technical College and the two public school districts in Laurens County. The three-year program will begin with high school students taking technical classes at the CAM, working part-time at the plant and completing coursework at their high school. After successfully completing the program, the student will have an associate degree from Piedmont Tech and will begin full-time work at the plant as a Level Two Maintenance Technician.
The CAM consists of CNC labs, CMM labs and classrooms which will benefit regional industry and the residents of Laurens County for years to come. The CAM partnership has met the needs of local industry by providing the area workforce with a means for upgrading their skills with relevant technology-based training.
“These companies are in such need of skilled workers and a lot of people do not have the background necessary to meet those needs,” said Janean Reish, associate dean for the CAM. “They need to get through some relatively fast training to get them up to speed for what these companies need and that’s where this facility plays a key role.”
Photo Caption: Piedmont Technical College’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) is continuing to expand to meet the needs of industry in Laurens County. The Center has provided training for more than a dozen different industries as well as supplied a location for groups ranging from the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and Laurens County Development to staff development for middle school and high school guidance counselors from Laurens District 55 and 56, pictured with Chris Lipp, director of the CAM, left.