In celebration of Manufacturing Day 2017, The Workforce Pipeline Committee will sponsor a Manufacturing Awareness Open House at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center.

This event will take place on Monday from 4-7 p.m. It is part of an effort to change people’s perceptions about today’s manufacturing environment and draw attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide.

“Our big push is to get folks out and help them learn about things they just don’t know,” said Jerry Broome, of the Workforce Pipeline Committee and the Region C Workforce Development Board. “I think we are finding out the perception of manufacturing is dark, dirty and dangerous.”

Broome said he has seen multiple closings around McDowell in the past 25 years, but there still good jobs out there, it just takes different skills that can be learned.

“Technology is very much involved and it takes a different skill set,” said Broome. “But we have the training right here at McDowell Tech.”

Planned activities include tours of the programs offered at McDowell Technical Community College, such as industrial maintenance, machining technology, welding and HVAC. Refreshments will be served, and a drawing will be held at the end of the program for three Visa gift cards at $150, $100 and $50. You do not have to be present to win. Attendees will be able to speak to students, past and present, as well as representatives from local manufacturers.

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event designed to showcase manufacturing technology and careers. To mark the event, a proclamation honoring November 2017 as Manufacturing Month in McDowell County and the City of Marion has been issued.

“There is an increasing demand for highly skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector who can design, program and operate technology,” said Broome. “The average age of a manufacturing employee is 56, and between now and 2020 there will be an unprecedented shortage of skilled workers who will need to be replaced.”

The Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center is located at 634 College Drive in Marion, NC on the campus of McDowell Technical Community College.

More information on Manufacturing Day is available at To watch a video of Made in McDowell visit,

Did You Know?

  • Local manufacturers pay approximately 20-25 percent of the total property tax paid to McDowell County
  • Property tax is approximately 50 percent of the $40 million McDowell County tax budget
  • Manufacturing is a cornerstone of our local economy, as McDowell County is third in the state for the highest percentage of the workforce (39 percent) employed in manufacturing.
  • Manufacturing supports more than 18.5 million U.S. jobs
  • $1 spent in manufacturing creates $1.40 in the U.S. economy
  • Manufacturing is the sixth largest employer in the U.S.
  •  Manufacturers comprise nearly 12 percent of our Gross National Product

Employers and Partners of the McDowell County Pipeline Committee

Name  -- Company/Agency

Kenny Greene --Auria

Stephanie Boggs --Auria

John Pinkerton -- Baldor

Patricia George -- Baxter

Adam Aldridge -- Baxter

Bill Graham -- Coats Specialty

Nikii Pittman -- Columbia Forrest Products

Ken Koesters -- Crane

Jessica New -- Crane

Jean Yackenovich -- Ethan Allen

Larry Papula -- Ethan Allen

Rachel Rasmussen -- Janesville Acoustics

Mark Weber  -- Key Gas

Sherry Hensley -- Manpower

Andy Beach -- WestRock

Jerry Broome -- Region C Workforce Development Board (WDB)

Steve Lockett -- Region C WBD

Brandon Ruppe -- Region C WDB

Bill Robertson -- Region C WDB

John Gossett -- MTCC

Penny Cross -- MTCC

Jim Benton -- MTCC

Eddie  -- MTCC

Mary Ledbetter -- MTCC

Brad Ledbetter -- MTCC

Shanna Gorecki  -- MTCC

Teresa Valentino -- MTCC

Will Caldwell -- NCWorks

Russ Vickers -- NCWorks (Veterans Rep.)

Felicia Setzer -- NCWorks

Mark Garrett -- McDowell County Schools (MCS)

Mary Finley -- MCS

Natalie Gouge -- MCS

Chuck Abernathy -- MEDA

Bill Slagle -- EDP of NC

Steve Early -- Foothills Industries

Randall Conley -- McDowell County

Amanda Minish -- McDowell DSS

Steve Bush -- McDowell Chamber of Commerce

Linda Hamrick -- Life Works

Jackie Godlock -- NC Vocational Rehabilitation

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