West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) hosted the inaugural West Georgia Manufacturing Day at its LaGrange Campus on October 6. The event was created in partnership with the Development Authority of LaGrange in an effort to expose the next generation to modern manufacturing careers.
Over 1,300 students from the Troup County School System, Heard County School System, Harris County School System, Meriwether County School System, Lafayette Christian School, and Troup County Home School Association attended the tradeshow-style event that featured representatives from 21 manufacturing companies from the West Georgia region.
WGTC president Dr. Julie Post encouraged students to take in as much information as they could about manufacturing and then share that information with others.
“Manufacturing is not what people think it is,” Post said. We need to demystify it. There are thriving manufacturing careers where you can be so successful, and the range of options is wide.”
Manufacturing Day, originated by the National Association of Manufacturers, is the industry’s biggest initiative to build excitement around the future of the modern manufacturing workforce and engage with students to demonstrate the exciting opportunities within the industry.
Students visited booths and interactive displays that showcased a wide range of manufacturing industries including textiles, household items, healthcare items, firearms, and automotive and parts manufacturing. Students also had the opportunity to tour WGTC’s precision manufacturing lab and its mobile welding and advanced manufacturing labs and try their hand at technical careers through virtual and augmented reality experiences in the Be Pro Be Proud Georgia trailer.
Georgia was recently named the number one state to do business in the country for the tenth consecutive year. Because of that, the need for skilled manufacturing workers in Georgia will continue to grow.
Kelley Bush, Director of Existing Industry and Workforce Development for the Development Authority of LaGrange, hopes West Georgia Manufacturing Day will help erase some of the stigmas that surround manufacturing careers.
“There are some stigmas around manufacturing, that are sometimes handed down from generation to generation, but manufacturing today isn’t our grandparents’ manufacturing,” Bush said. “We want to provide awareness and work with industry partners to show students what manufacturing is…high-paying jobs with a lot of advanced technology. The only way to get that message across is to have them experience it.”
Dr. Post thanked the Development Authority of LaGrange for partnering with WGTC for this event.
“Helping make an area vitally economic is a collaborative endeavor, and we are incredibly grateful to the Development Authority of LaGrange for bringing all of this activity to our campus,” Post said. “Our job at WGTC is economic development and workforce development. We are here to be the conduit between industry, education, and students to help make LaGrange, Troup County, and all of our surrounding counties successful.”
West Georgia Technical College, with campuses in Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, and Troup counties and class sites in Heard and Meriwether counties, offers more than 120 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate programs of study. A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Tech is one of the largest of the state’s 22 technical colleges. For more information, please visit www.westgatech.edu.