Manufacture Your Career at Mountain Empire Community College

On March 22nd, in cooperation with Mountain Empire Community College, Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing co-hosted Manufacture Your Career, an evening panel discussion highlighting the manufacturing sector and the career paths it offers.

Beth Boggs, Career and Transfer Counselor at MECC, successfully promoted the event and recruited students from a variety of technical programs to participate. Overall, there were 60 people in attendance at the event.

The evening began with a panel discussion featuring professionals in different positions within manufacturing organizations in Southwest Virginia. Panelists included Alex Lupi-Director of Operations at Tempur Pedic in Duffield, VA, Christa Glassburn-Chief Operating Officer at PBE in Tazewell, VA , Ethan Gillam-IT Systems Engineer at Tempur Pedic in Duffield, VA, and Gregory Farmer-Duffield Site Manager at Joy Global in Duffield, VA. 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 pointed out that manufacturing has changed, along with the rest of the global economy, and that job-seekers in the manufacturing industry are going to be required to possess skills and pursue training that will make them competitive in a manufacturing environment that emphasizes technology and adaptability.

Students asked insightful questions about the growth of manufacturing, the possibility for advancement in the field and the educational benefits an employer might provide to employees. Overall, the sense was that the students valued the opportunity to grow in a manufacturing career. Attendees discussed some of the challenges of the regional economy and how manufacturing may help to ameliorate some unemployment.

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

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