A group of manufacturers in Liberty County has banded together to try to recruit more employees who live in Liberty County.
“We’re all working together to open up the door for you guys,” said Joel White, forging manager at Firth Rixson Forgings in Tradeport East Business Center.
He was talking to about 25 students from Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School during presentations by Liberty County Manufacturing Collaboration members. The presentations were made at SNF and Interstate Paper’s plants in Riceboro and were followed by tours of the chemical plant and paper mill.
In addition to those companies, Firth Rixson and Elan Technologies in Midway make up the collaboration.
“It’s hugely important — our collaboration with local manufacturers and Savannah Technical College — and the Liberty County Development Authority, they put a lot of time into putting this activity together,” Liberty College and Career Academy CEO Tom Alexander said. “The coolest thing about this is we have a lot of young people in our community who want to pursue manufacturing, who want to learn more about it.
“And another cool thing about this group … is that they came to us. They said, ‘We hear you have this career academy and this great program. What can we do to collaborate?’”
The presentations didn’t fall on deaf ears, either, especially when Fred Tucker, human-resources director for SNF’s Riceboro plant, said starting wages there are more than $14 an hour, even for recent high-school graduates.
“I’m hoping this is a thing for me,” said Dazja Haynes, a Bradwell student who is in the certified manufacturing-specialist program at the LCCA.
She is one of four students in the school’s manufacturing program this semester. George Cobham, a Savannah Technical College faculty member who teaches the program at the LCCA, said the high schools were asked to send students on the tours in an effort to attract more students to the program.
Eventually, the officials said, internships may be offered to high-school students, but the details have not been worked out.