MYRTLE BEACH — More educational offerings are on the horizon at Horry-Georgetown Technical College that aimed at training students for manufacturing jobs that offer good salaries and that will meet the needs of the business community, according to college officials.
HGTC’s area commissioners on Tuesday approved the development of three new degrees – an Associate in Applied Science in Machine Tool Technology, a Certificate Degree in Basic Machine Tool Operations and a Certificate Degree in Robotics Technology.
The robotics program is expected to begin in spring 2014, while the other two programs would be offered in fall 2014, all pending the approval of the legislature and other educational departments.
The college is resurrecting its machine tool program as it has with its welding program, which is being re-launched this fall. The college has been told by area employers that in the next three years, there will be demand for at least 200 full- or part-time machine tool technicians, according to Marilyn Fore, HGTC senior vice president.
HGTC also is developing an Advanced Manufacturing and Design Center to be housed in the Building 200 industrial wing on the Conway campus. It initially will be home to the welding program – which will include stick, MIG and TIG applications – and metal fabrication, machine tool and computer numerical control, or CNC, machine programming.
The center will require extra funds for purchasing equipment that will not be covered by the state. HGTC is exploring a variety of avenues for that funding, including partnerships with local companies and employers coming to the area, said Harold Hawley, HGTC vice president for finance and business affairs.
“That equipment is not inexpensive, given its level of technology and sophistication, and we are looking for partners to finance those acquisitions,” Hawley said. “The good news is we have an outpouring of requests from area businesses and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. saying that there’s a need for a locally based manufacturing training center to help Horry and Georgetown counties attract new business and allow existing businesses to expand in our area.”
Students at other institutions have a 100 percent job placement rate in those areas, Hawley said, and colleges in the Upstate are having a difficult time getting students to complete their programs because they are being snapped up for jobs before they are finished. Graduates from HGTC’s center are expected to earn from $30,000 to $50,000 a year, which exceeds local pay scale averages, he said.
HGTC also is adding to its truck driver training, which is held in Florence in conjunction with Florence-Darlington Technical College, said Mary Eaddy, HGTC spokeswoman. Currently, the two schools share a truck, but the area commissioners endorsed getting another truck for the school so more students can be served.
“The demand is bigger than one truck can do,” Eaddy said, “and the need for truck drivers is growing.”
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.