There’s a need for tradespeople across the country and in Horry and Georgetown counties. There are 240 projected manufacturing jobs that Georgetown County alone will see in two to five years.

“The employers are actually telling us, send them with the skills they have now,” said Horry Georgetown Technical College Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Professor Jeff Bell. “We can kind of work with them until they graduate, because of, as I said, that supply and demand is just, the workforce is just, aging, and we just can’t meet the supply and demand.”

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says the U.S. has 30 million jobs that pay $55,000 a year that don’t need a Bachelor’s degree.

Tools like a welding simulator help Professor Ball to pinpoint skills for each welder. With about 105 welding students at the Conway campus alone, Professor Ball says the new center for advanced manufacturing they’re building at the Georgetown campus will be a big help.

“The lab’s full, there’s interest in the programs, we just can’t produce them fast enough to meet the supply and demand,” he said.

The mechatronics program the new center will have is unique to fit the skill sets employers are looking for in the area.

“Santee Cooper, any production type, you know, scenario,” said Ball. “These people would be able to actually fix and calibrate the equipment for production, or assembly line.”

The 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing center in Georgetown will open in August and will house machine tool and mechatronics technology, and advanced welding.

The $13.5 million project is being paid for by state funding, a federal grant, the Georgetown School District, Georgetown County, and college funds.