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  • Shalon Smith

SCC Partners with Industry to Reduce Employee Turnover

The industrial training department in Southeastern Community College’s Work- force Continuing Education Division has been busy. Since the fall of 2013, more than 90 pre-employment skills classes have been offered in conjunc- tion with local manufacturers. The classes averaged about 16 students per class and have been successful in reducing employee turnover rates, officials say. The department also offers specialized on-site training for local manufacturers.

Smithfield Foods, W.E. Bailey Produce and National Spinning are among the employers who have participated. Beverlee Nance, vice president of Workforce and Community Development said another program “is just getting started” with Honeycutt Produce.

Rick Barton, plant manager for National Spinning, said transferring knowledge from an aging workforce at the plant to future generations of workers is a challenge.

“We have a lot of 70-year- olds, we have many 60-year- olds, we even have a few 80-year-olds,” Barton said.

Resurgence in American manufacturing has put companies like National Spinning in a position to need to hire and transfer the knowledge between older and younger workers efficiently to keep up with production demands. It is challenging for a manufacturer to deal with new hires while making production quotas and maintaining quality.

The strain on human resources at National Spinning was overwhelming.

“We have to hire 13 people to get 10,” Barton said. “The worst thing we do is fall into the trap of rehires.”

The Southeastern pre-employment skills program for National Spinning requires 20 hours of learning about manufacturing, proper attire for manufacturing and expectations for working in the manufacturing environment. Barton lauded the job Southeastern has done for new hires.

“By the time they get on the job, orientation is nearly completed, they know about safety, personal protection equipment, and they know what to expect – they’re not green,” Barton said.

Tom Reece from Council Tool calls their partnership with Southeastern “exceptional.” When speaking at a manufacturing summit recently hosted by SCC, he recalled an opportunity to speak with industrial program students at the college about the “flavor” of what to expect in a manufacturing environment. “The students needed to hear that you need to come to work on time, you need to dress properly,youneedtowork,and you need to be responsible for your actions and what you do,” Reece said.

The pre-employment skills classes – held both day and evening – focus on the enhancement of life skills such as problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and making responsible decisions to promote success in the workplace.

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