GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – A new $13.5 million facility on the South Strand aims to train hundreds of manufacturing workers in Horry and Georgetown counties.
The city has historically has produced rice, steel and paper, but Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) has built a center to help bring 21st century manufacturing jobs to the Grand Strand.
“It is simply one of the finest buildings that belongs to the community, to our leaders, to faculty, staff and students,” said HGTC president Dr. Marilyn Fore.
HGTC celebrated the opening of the Georgetown Center for Advanced Manufacturing on Tuesday. The center was funded by a federal grant, state capital reserve fund money, college funds, as well as donations by Georgetown County and the county’s school district.
The center is home to several new programs like mechatronics, which is computer- and robotic-based engineering, along with machine tool technology and welding. The center has 20 welding booths, along with more than $4 million in mechatronic and machine tool equipment.
Gov. Henry McMaster toured the center and says it will attract manufacturing jobs to the area.
“This gives them a place to go that is top of the line, can’t be beat, for this type of education,” Gov. McMaster said. “That industry wants this kind of education (and) training in South Carolina.”
EnviroSep, which is a engineering and manufacturing company in Georgetown, will start an internship program at the center.
“This advanced manufacturing center is essential for providing that skilled, available workforce for this community,” said Tim Tilley, who’s the CEO of EnviroSep.
Mayor Brendon Barber Sr. says the 30,000-square-foot building makes one of the state’s oldest cities more competitive in new industries.
“In the tri-county area, Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley (counties), it lets the light industry people down there know that they can come this way and they don’t have to go far to have their employees trained or potential employees,” Mayor Barber said.
HGTC says the center will help support more than $14 million in investments for the greater Georgetown area over the next five years. The college also estimates employers will need more than 240 manufacturing jobs in the next two to five years.
In addition to HGTC’s classes, the center will also host high school and company training programs.