PENDLETON --- Since 2013, 126 individuals have enrolled in South Carolina Manufacturing Certification (SCMC), a training program that has been called an answer to the serious workforce skills gap that has left businesses and industries without a pipeline of the skilled workers needed in today's rapidly changing economy.

"Mid-level industry jobs are out there, but there aren't enough qualified applicants to fill them," said Corporate and Community Education Division Program Manager Richard Parker, adding that sixty-five percent of the jobs in our area require above a high school diploma up to and including an associate degree.

Parker's comments came at a breakfast meeting to congratulate SCMC graduates and to give business and industry partners information about the training program.  SCMC is a quick, yet comprehensive training route for individuals seeking to enhance their skills and to secure full-time employment as operators in manufacturing. Classes are offered and taught though Tri-County's Corporate and Community Education Division. 

The SCMC training is a 200-hour curriculum that includes the opportunity to earn eight nationally recognized certifications. Topics include industrial safety, quality, blueprints and measurement, production processes and some basic understanding of industrial equipment and maintenance.

Participants may earn an OSHA 10-hour safety card, a Six Sigma yellow belt certification and a national MSSC credential in safety, quality, production systems and maintenance awareness which translates into stackable credentials for college credit.

Since 2013 approximately 80 percent of Tri-County's SCMC graduates are employed at an average per hour wage of $12. 73.   They are employed by Koyo Bearings, Kroger Bakery, Yokohama, Robert Bosch, U.S. Engine Valve, Plastic Omnium, St. Jude Medical, Michelin, Greenfield Industries and others.

"We are thankful to manufacturers who interview and hire graduates of this program," said Parker. 

Pam Cobb, human resource manager at Yokohama, says SCMC graduates who have been hired at the plant are "head and shoulders above other applicants," citing their proficiency in 21st-century workplace skills, such as lean manufacturing. 

Susan Pretulak, vice president for economic development and workforce competitiveness with the S.C. Technical College System, said in 2013, the S.C. Legislature funded the SCMC program by allocating money for each technical college in the state. She said the goal was to train 1,200 individuals, but they exceeded that pledge with 1,346 earning the SCMC credential over that time period. 

Parker said additional classes will be offered in the future.  "We can enroll more people who qualify and we are seeking additional funding opportunities.  We hope to hold at least four more classes before the year is over, if funding lasts," he said.

  "Companies see these folks as good applicants. SCMC is a viable tool to help S.C. manufacturers fill these crucial mid-skill level jobs," said Pretulak.

For more information on SCMC, contact Richard Parker at 646-1718 or