1-26-2015: Groundbreaking for Center for Manufacturing Innovation

Greenville Technical College joined with Clemson University and partners including Governor Nikki Haley, Upstate advanced manufacturers, Greenville County Council, and other leaders to break ground on the Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) today, where education for the advanced manufacturing workforce will be provided to serve the automotive, transportation, and other high-tech sectors.

The number one goal for the CMI is to increase the number of skilled workers for manufacturing in order to close the skills gap that has hampered the progress of many Upstate employers. Manufacturing in Greenville County is an economic powerhouse, first in Gross Regional Product and total earnings for all industries. It is responsible for nearly all annual capital investment in the area and has the highest multiplier effect of any sector.

Yet employers have struggled to find people with adequate skills to fill job openings. The manufacturing workforce is aging, and there are too few younger workers in the pipeline to replace them.

The Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) will be located at the Millennium Campus adjacent to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) Technology Neighborhood 1, offering education designed to meet industry needs including dual credit programs in partnership with Greenville County Schools, programs that allow a student to move from associate degree to bachelor’s degree, and workforce training and certificate programs that increase the qualifications of manufacturing employees.

The CMI will provide for deeper integration with the K-12 sector, with options for coursework starting in K-12 that will transition to GTC and then to Clemson. Modularized instruction will allow additional flexibility in entry and exit points. A Manufacturing Honors College is expected to be the first of its kind. In addition, students will benefit from internships and apprenticeships, allowing students to gain practical experience working alongside experienced engineers, faculty, and staff.

The location of CMI along with the partnership with Clemson University will provide for joint learning opportunities between associate and graduate level students. Project based instruction will mimic current manufacturing scenarios when engineering technicians and engineers must work side by side to solve problems critical to advanced manufacturing processes.

The center will engage K-12 students and show them the possibilities that exist in advanced manufacturing careers through dual enrollment programs, tours, camps, and open houses. The Center for Manufacturing Innovation will be designed, literally, to change negative perceptions about manufacturing, with architectural features that engage from the first moment. The entryway will provide observation points where a visitor can view simulated advanced manufacturing environments, and interactive displays will educate and entertain.

Architect Cindy Benjamin, AIA, LEED AP BD + C, of LS3P, describes the new design as “ a visual icon of modern manufacturing, intended to reform the image of traditional manufacturing with a space which represents modern, clean, advanced technology and the critical-thinking driven manufacturing of the future.” 

According to Benjamin, the building is designed for transparency to engage the students, faculty, staff, corporate partners, and community visitors with the light-filled spaces highlighting the hands-on curriculum within. The learning environment maximizes flexibility to accommodate a variety of learning and teaching modes as well as future technologies.  Gathering spaces support innovation, collaboration, and creative collisions, she said. With many strategies for sustainability integrated into the design, the building is targeting a minimum of “2 Green Globes” certification under the Green Building Initiative’s rating system.

Rodgers has been selected as construction manager. “Rodgers is excited to partner on a project that provides critical training and development in a modern facility that merges the latest advances in technology and sustainability,” said Bob Glusenkamp, AIA, LEED AP, executive vice president for the company.

In addition to creating a skilled workforce, the Center for Manufacturing Innovation will provide incubation space for entrepreneurs, filling a void in the county. The CMI will also foster innovation through linkages of product/process research and workforce development.

The idea for the campus began with the needs of employers. As the concept has been developed, leaders with area manufacturers including BMW, Michelin, GE, Bosch Rexroth, ADEX Machining Technologies, League Manufacturing, JTEKT Koyo, Fabri-Kal, SpecFab Services, Master PT, Standard Motor Products and more have voiced strong support for the project and have provided input that has allowed plans for a Center for Manufacturing Innovation to take shape.

In September 2013, Greenville County Council gave unanimous approval to a $25 million bond issue for Greenville Technical College to build an enterprise campus.

In November 2013, the presidents of Greenville Tech and Clemson signed a memorandum of understanding, creating a center that enhances the development and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies.

“Our Center for Manufacturing Innovation represents a game changing approach to education,” said Dr. Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College. “We will close the skills gap by creating the expertise needed for new employees and improving skills of the current workforce. And we will fully integrate education from the K-12 system to the two-year college to the four-year university level, working together to better meet the needs of manufacturers in order to advance our economy.”

Clemson University President James P. Clements said Clemson is proud to continue its strong relationship with Greenville Technical College.

“The Center for Manufacturing Innovation is another great example of the partnership between Clemson and Greenville Tech,” said Clements. “This center has the potential to transform manufacturing education in the Upstate, which will make a huge difference that will eventually be felt across South Carolina, and I am thankful for all of the people who worked to make this happen.”

Greenville Technical College
Greenville Technical College is a four-campus system where nearly 30,000 students are annually preparing for the strongest careers of today and tomorrow. Established in 1962, the college’s mission is to drive personal and economic growth through learning. With more than 100 curriculum program choices along with short-term training for career and personal development, Greenville Technical College gives employers a ready supply of skilled workers and provides students with an education that will help them succeed. First accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in 1968, the college’s accreditation was recently reaffirmed for a ten-year period – the maximum time period possible. Regional accreditation allows students to transfer easily and gives employers assurance that job candidates from Greenville Tech have received a quality education.

Greenville Tech promotes a respectful campus culture that reflects appreciation for diversity and inclusion at all levels. For more information about the college and its programs, professors and partnerships, visit www.gvltec.edu.

Clemson University
Ranked No. 20 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research is a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus where university, industry and government organizations collaborate. Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science offers master’s and Ph.D. programs in automotive engineering at CU-ICAR and is conducting leading-edge applied research in critical areas, such as advanced product-development strategies, sustainable mobility, intelligent manufacturing systems and advanced materials. CU-ICAR has industrial-scale laboratories and testing equipment in world-class facilities available for commercial use.

Founded in 1963, LS3P was named Southeast Design Firm of the Year for 2014 by Engineering News Record (ENR).  A design firm with regional roots and a national reach, LS3P operates from its 6 offices in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, SC and Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington, NC, providing architecture, interior architecture, and planning services.  LS3P is deeply committed to the communities in which it serves, with over 400 design awards in diverse practice areas.  For more information on LS3P, visit www.ls3p.com.

Headquartered in the Carolinas and founded in 1963, Rodgers ranks among the nation’s top construction managers, offering preconstruction and construction services for education, healthcare, cultural, senior living and commercial clients. www.rodgersbuilders.com .