SVAM Hosts “Manufacture your Career” Program for Students at Emory & Henry:

On October 13, 2015, in cooperation with Emory and Henry College’s Office of Career Services, Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing co-hosted Manufacture your Career, an evening of information and networking about career opportunities available in manufacturing.

Amanda Gardner, the Director of Career Services at Emory and Henry College, approached SVAM with a request to offer a program as an opportunity for Emory and Henry students to gain greater insight as to how a bachelor’s degree can be used in manufacturing.  With the goal of changing the image of manufacturing among college students, SVAM reached out to manufacturers in the region and began planning the event.

The evening began with a panel discussion featuring professionals in a range of positions within manufacturing. Panelists included Jeff Dunnack-Plant Manager at Somic America, Jamie Maas-Director of Production Operations at General Dynamics, Te-Kai Shu-Social Media and Business Development Manager at Strongwell and Carrie White-Manager of Quality Assurance at Strongwell. The panelists discussed a variety of topics including potential career pathways in manufacturing for those with four-year degrees and beyond.

Panelists pointed out that manufacturers require employees from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, including those with college degrees. Another topic of discussion, the misconceptions about manufacturing, revealed the differences between students’ prior perceptions of manufacturing versus the reality of working in manufacturing. Students learned from panelists that the manufacturing environment is one that provides an opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology with an emphasis placed on safety; while also being a complex organization with careers ranging from advertising to engineering.

Nineteen students attended the event, along with a representative from Emory and Henry College’s newspaper, The Whitetopper.  After a successful discussion, panelists answered questions from students about the wide range of career pathways that manufacturing provides to job-seekers. The evening concluded with a door-prize giveaway featuring items provided by Somic America, West River Conveyors, Strongwell and General Engineering. Ms. Gardner applauded the event by saying, “Thanks to the Manufacture Your Career event sponsored by The Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, the student event attendees were exposed to the diverse world of careers inside manufacturing.  I appreciate that the students had the opportunity to network with manufacturing professionals with diverse educational backgrounds and careers.  This event helped to support the work Career Services at Emory & Henry College does to broaden the career horizons of students.”

SVAM would like to thank participants including the panelists, giveaway sponsors, students and Emory and Henry’s Office of Career Services.