“I’m totally impressed with what’s going on in Greenville and Greer,” says Tommy Preston, Jr, Esq., the director of National Strategy & Engagement for Boeing. He says he’s in the Upstate to learn, inspire and engage.
“That’s our message as we go through next couple days in this county. We’re engaging students, working with students, and also learning about this community and the great work they’re doing. Most importantly we want to inspire the next generation of aerospace and advanced manufacturing workers,” says Preston.
This trip to the Upstate is part of a statewide tour. Boeing Days events are a partnership between Boeing and the SC Department of Commerce to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM and introduce citizens to Boeing. Boeing representatives began Wednesday at Bonds Career Center in Greer where they met with the Greer Chamber, educators and community leaders. Then they spent time at Greer High School engaging students and they wrapped up the day with a visit to the BMW Performance Center.
As the two largest manufacturers in the state, Boeing and BMW have a common interest in helping to build a future workforce. When it comes to skilled labor and trades, there could be as many as 600,000 unfulfilled jobs in South Carolina and industry leaders say that’s a problem. To help supply the workforce needed for manufacturing, several initiatives are gaining momentum in the Greenville School District starting in kindergarten. The challenge is often communicating the opportunities to parents.
To create that awareness, Preston says Boeing and BMW are working hand in hand along with other manufacturers. “It’s not lost on either of these companies that the two largest manufacturers in the state that we have a responsibility to dive in and work with the communities.” Talking about leaders at BMW he says, “I’m looking forward to spending some time with them today to further our conversations and relationship as we work together to make our state better.”
Thursday’s agenda includes a walking tour of downtown Greenville with Mayor Knox White, a tour at CU-ICAR and a visit with community leaders and students from Clemson, NGU and Greenville Tech. A VIP farewell party at Thornblade Club in Greer will cap off the visit featuring leaders from manufacturing, aerospace and education.
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