Manufacture Your Career at SWVCC

On April 13th, in cooperation with Southwest Virginia Community College, Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing co-hosted Manufacture Your Career, a panel discussion highlighting the manufacturing sector and the career paths it offers.

Stephanie Davis, Director of Career Services at SWVCC, successfully promoted the event and recruited students from a variety of technical programs to participate. Overall, there were 35 people in attendance.

The event began with an Advanced Manufacturing presentation given by Richard Morgan and Alice Scott, which encouraged students to challenge their perception of manufacturing and discover the new types of manufacturing that exist in Virginia. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring professionals in different positions within manufacturing organizations in Southwest Virginia. Panelists included Christa Glassburn-Chief Operating Officer at PBE in Tazewell, VA ; Mary Myers-Operations Manager at PBE; Kelly Queen-Sales Manager at Consolidated Steel in Cedar Bluff VA;  and Tom Lester-Consultant for Consolidated Steel.  The panelists discussed a range of topics including the types of careers available in manufacturing, soft skills sought after in the manufacturing sector, the future of manufacturing in Southwest Virginia, and more.

Panelists discussed the ways that manufacturing has changed, along with the rest of the global economy. They pointed out that with the declining coal industry in the region, manufacturers and job-seekers alike must diversify their skills and pursue training that will make them competitive in a manufacturing environment that emphasizes technology and adaptability.

Students asked insightful questions about the interview process, opportunities for advancement in manufacturing and more. Overall, the sense was that the students valued the opportunity to learn more about manufacturing careers. Attendees discussed some of the challenges of the regional economy and how manufacturing may help to ameliorate some unemployment.

The event concluded with door prizes provided by West River Conveyors, Somic America, and Tempur Pedic. Students and panelists enjoyed the provided breakfast and coffee, and were given the opportunity to network with panelists after the event.

SVAM would like to thank the volunteer panelists, give-away sponsors, Southwest Virginia Community College, and the instructors who encouraged their students to attend. There will be similar events at educational institutions around the region throughout 2016.