HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — The Lake Norman Economic Development is working to fill industrial career opportunities available right now.
To help fill positions, the development invited teachers, administrators and counselors from several CMS schools to tour four local factories.
The goal of the initiative is to introduce students of all ages to jobs that are more hands on, and raise awareness about alternative job opportunities for students giving them another option aside from attending college or a university.
"We wondered how to engage our businesses and our schools and how to connect them, and so this is a product of that," said Huntersville Mayor Pro-Tem Melinda Bales.
Bales sits on the board.
The four factories include Keller Technology, FANUC America, Forbo and Burkert in Huntersville, which produces tools to measure and control liquid and gasses from valves, sensors and controls.
"Not everything is meant for all people. I think you need to look into different ways of getting where you want to be because maybe the traditional way is not you," said student Dylan White.
The high school senior knows that first hand; he's enrolled with Burkert's apprenticeship program while he waits to graduate, to see if a manufacturing job might be the right fit for him.
Teachers say the initiative is welcome, but it all begins in the classroom.
"It really starts with getting to know the individual kid as the year progresses and seeing where they are and seeing where we can take them to their potential," said Christopher Desmonde, an engineering teacher at Hopewell High School.
This is only the second time the Lake Norman economic development has organized a tour like this and more are planned for the future.
Educators are now tasked with sharing the information with their students.
Officials said the manufacturing industry as a whole is projected to grow at a rate of 1.7% in the next five years. With that growth, they expect there will be nearly 29,150 jobs available in advanced manufacturing by 2024 in the Charlotte region.
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