A group of people standing together.
(Left to right) Christopher Askew, DeQuan Lassiter, Todd Askew, Adrian Bird, Gerardo Avila, Isidro Hernandez, Cameron Matkins and Christopher Staebell.

Advanced Manufacturing Institute offers extra skills, new career options

Local manufacturing firms are eager to fill new positions, and many people may be just one class away from qualifying for these jobs. Beaufort County Community College is offering the Advanced Manufacturing Institute to help people quickly polish their skills to move to the front of the line for these openings. The next class will start on January 27, and students can qualify for a $500 scholarship through State Employees Credit Union toward the cost of the class and cost of attendance.

The current class brought together students from different backgrounds. Student Cameron Matkins works at Chocowinity Fire/EMS and plans to get his journeyman lineman certificate. Adrian Bird and Christopher Staebell were attending the high school equivalency program at BCCC and added the Advanced Manufacturing Institute to expand their credentials. Isidro Hernandez and Gerardo Avila both worked as painters, came to the college as part of the automotive system technology program, and decided to add the class to open up opportunities in manufacturing.

“I farmed for 17 years. I was a real estate appraiser for 15 years. I was a merchant mariner for 5 years,” said Christopher Askew, who is now interested in a manufacturing position.

“I’ve done a multitude of things all my life, but life catches up with you. You don’t get a chance to get any education when you get older, said Todd Askew. “That’s what I’m trying to do. Get a little education to make things better.”

Students toured companies like idX as part of the program and at the end of the two-week class, students had a chance to meet with employers. Community colleges joined with manufacturers to develop short-term training that would quickly develop the interpersonal, problem-solving and safety skills needed to start a position.

Existing and new companies in Northeastern North Carolina are faced with a critical shortage of available skilled workers, and as a result ten counties banded together to form the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline for Eastern North Carolina (RAMP East). The alliance connects community colleges like Beaufort County Community College to manufacturers like Grady-White Boats, Iconic Marine Group, Triangle Tire, Oak Ridge Industries, PAS, P&G Manufacturing, ThermoFisher Scientific, Spinrite, Camfil, Hyster-Yale, Domtar, idX, AFF Flanders and Bridgestone.

The next class will take place from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday from January 27-February 12. Another class will start on March 9. While the class costs $193, students may qualify for the $500 scholarship from SECU.

Interested persons can go to rampeast.com or their local NCWorks Career Center to get more information. To register, participants can call the Division of Continuing Education at 252-940-6375.