One of three primary reasons Venture Packaging chose South Carolina was the involvement of Don Garrison, president of TriCounty Technical College in Pendleton, S.C., which will help train Venture's employees. Tri-County is one of 16 technical colleges in South Carolina offering more than 200 specialized programs catering to new industries.
The Plastics Consortium at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, S.C., evaluates companies' training needs and promotes the application of advanced technology to the plastics industry in the state.
Greenville Technical College's computer-aided design and manufacturing center gives training on the programming and operation of computer numerically controlled machine tools and offers two certificate programs: CNC machine operator and CNC programmer.
South Carolina firms also have access to the state's pre-employment training program, called Special Schools, to recruit and train individuals for specific tasks at no cost to the employer.
Special Schools uses facilities of the state's 16 technical col-leges. Students typically train on machinery that is similar, if not identical, to equipment that will be used by the manufacturer.
Often, classes are taught at the manufacturing facility. The program analyzes the skills needed, prepares customized training materials from written materials to an actual simulation of company software, and recruits, screens, tests and trains potential workers.
In 1989, the Southeast Manufacturing Technology Center was founded as a resource for small to medium-sized manufacturers. The SMTC provides education and application demonstrations in areas such as ISO 9000, supplier development, just-in-time manufacturing, computer-aided technologies and total quality management.
Last year, SMTC teamed up with North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee to form the Plastics Consortium under the auspices of the Southern Growth Policy Board. Its mission: to promote economic development throughout the region.
The consortium offers advanced design engineering services and distance learning programs to firms moving into the region. Clemson University's Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and their Composites provides expertise in the development of processing equipment and advanced fibers needed for the chemical, fiber and textile industries to enter the composite materials market.
``Training and technology are the engines of economic development,'' said Belford Cross, executive director of SMTC. ``Here in South Carolina we emphasize training and education not only to attract new companies but to keep them here and keep them competitive.''