CFCC’s manufacturing programs to meet the needs of skilled labor for local manufacturing companies

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) — Some jobs are disappearing because technology can now easily replace them, but for many manufacturing companies that is not the case.

Mojotone makes parts for guitars and amps. The company relocated from Winston-Salem to Burgaw in 2005 with just 12 employees. Since then they have grown to almost 80 employees.

“We are already thinking about expanding this building and hiring even more people,” said Michael McWhorter, CEO and President of Mojotone. “We have a wood shop, we do upholstery work where we cover guitar amps with vinyl, we have an electronics shop where we actually assemble guitar amps and guitar pickups, a lot of electronics positions, we have warehouse and sales staff, we have accounting, we have our entire Graphic design and marketing, and then we also have a sales team.”

McWhorter says the company is now seeking more qualified workers for these hands-on positions. Mojotone has hired about 10 people each year for the past few years.

“In the next eight to twelve months we will hire at least five to ten more employees.”

With the help of the Cape Fear Manufacturing Partnership, Cape Fear Community College will soon be training students through its new manufacturing program.

Courses last 10-12 weeks and include things like forklift training, safety standards and protocols, and small machine training.

“They are short-term training [courses]. And they need that too, we need short-term training to quickly upskill people and get them into the workforce because there is such a demand for labor right now,” said CFCC President Jim Morton.

In return, at least a handful of needy local manufacturers have pledged to consider any student in the program for a job once they complete the required courses.

“It just shows you the needs we are responding to in the area. I think the need will continue to grow and we are here to respond. It was very exciting to build, to listen and to react to. But the good news is that manufacturers are now coming to us and asking us, and we’re here to fill that need,” Morton said. “What we like to do best here is training and further education, but also facilitating employment [getting] them jobs.”

McWhorter says he looks forward to having a group of candidates who come with skills that companies are used to teaching during the first year of employment.

“It will be a great opportunity for students, but it’s also a great opportunity for employers to attract potential candidates who already have the basic knowledge that we need.”

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