The Liberty County Development Authority has voted to support the expansion of workforce development training for precision manufacturing in Liberty County with a five-year, $100,000 pledge to support Savannah Technical College in building and equipping a state-of-the-art Precision Manufacturing Flex Tech laboratory at its Liberty Campus.
This new construction would nearly double the lab space currently available for industrial-related instruction and will be customized to support the specific industries that operate in the region, the college announced in a news release Monday.
“We are proud that the Liberty County Development Authority has made such a strong commitment to expanding precision-manufacturing training,” College President Dr. Kathy Love said in the release. “We know that our manufacturing partners require a highly skilled workforce in order to continue to thrive. We have recently expanded welding, machine tool and industrial systems to Liberty County, but the demand for manufacturing education exceeds capacity at every campus location. This Precision Manufacturing Flex Tech lab expansion will help the college’s programs and equipment keep pace with the demand in Liberty County.”
Manufacturing is making a major comeback in southeast Georgia. Statistics show that regionally, more than 200 manufacturers have a total annual payroll of nearly $700 million and employ more than 14,000 workers, making this sector of the local economy critically important to economic development and quality of life.
Industrial employment in Liberty County has increased 461 percent since 1981, with more than 2,000 manufacturing jobs created. Manufacturing products include advanced materials, consumer goods and concrete and wood products.
Four Liberty County industries, Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions, Elan Technology, Interstate Resources and SNF Holding Co., have created the Liberty County Manufacturing Collaboration, a consortium that works closely with Savannah Technical College and the Liberty College and Career Academy to tailor workforce-development programs to meet employer requirements. The Liberty County Manufacturing Collaboration in August will enter its second year of a paid apprenticeship program in partnership with Savannah Technical College.
“We are pleased to see Savannah Technical College expand its footprint in Liberty County and enhance manufacturing training to suit the skills required by our local industries,” LCDA Board Chairman Allen Brown said. “Supporting the college’s programs in Hinesville is vital to ensuring our existing industries are equipped to grow, which increases career opportunities and economic vitality within our community.”
The Liberty County Development Authority’s mission is to develop and promote industry for the public good and welfare of the county. Toward that end, the LCDA has developed industrial parks, constructed shell buildings and supported Savannah Technical College and workforce-development programs such as the Liberty College and Career Academy.
The Savannah Technical College Foundation is in the midst of a $10 million capital campaign, with $5 million devoted to precision manufacturing throughout the region. The college seeks to expand manufacturing at its Effingham and Savannah campuses as well. The campaign’s goal is to significantly expand access to workforce-development opportunities and provide students with access to training in a practice-oriented environment sufficient to become knowledgeable and job-ready. This would mean that industries would have access to a highly skilled workforce to meet increasingly complex needs in advanced production, allowing them to compete successfully and expand their operations and, thus, creating more jobs in the community.