German delegation visits Darlington, hopes to expand apprenticeship education model in US

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From Rome News-Tribune

German delegation visits Darlington hopes to expand apprenticeship education model in US Business northwestgeorgianews
German Consul to the Southeast Detlev Ruenger (left) and Stefanie Jehlitschka, president of the Southeast chapter of the German-America of Commerce, check out a robot in Owen Kinney’s robotics lab at Darlington on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017

Development of a highly efficient workforce was foremost on the minds of German executives during a whirlwind visit to Rome on Tuesday. The Rome Floyd Chamber hosted German Consul to the Southeast Detlev Ruenger, President of German-American Chamber of Commerce Stefanie Jehlitschka, and President and CEO of AGCO Corp. Martin Richenhagen, over lunch with local government and business
leaders prior to a tour of the Darlington School and its robotics lab.

Ruenger, who has served in the German diplomatic corps for many years, said the Southeast is the center of German industrial investment in the United States, with over 100,000 jobs created in the six states he serves.

Ruenger said expansion of the German apprenticeship model into the American manufacturing sector was important to the many German companies looking to expand into the U.S. “As it is in Germany, obviously it is something that was grown over centuries, so this is something we can’t carbon copy but we would like to bring in elements, we would like to meet demands of industry with what is locally available,” Ruenger said.

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How Cargill’s employee summit put sustainability on the menu

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From GreenBiz:

Getting broad internal buy-in on sustainability is a challenge most companies face. Whether the impetus for sustainable business comes from the top, bottom or middle — there are good examples of each — pushing it out to the entire organization can be a significant barrier to success.

Earlier this year, Cargill, the giant food and ag company and the largest private corporation in the United States, held a sustainability summit to begin to address that challenge — successfully, it seems.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a number of those involved with the summit to understand how it worked, what took place and how it is raising the profile of sustainability within the company. The summit represents a good case study for building engagement on sustainability for employees at every level, and what happens when you invite others to weigh in.

Cargill Protein Group — a recently created business unit that rolled up the company’s North American meat, poultry, egg and related businesses — is the result of a reorganization the sprawling, 152-year-old company has been undergoing over the past year or so. The goal of the reorg was to group independently operating business units focusing on related value chains under one roof. In addition to farming, ranching, processing and foodservice operations, the new protein unit also includes lines of fresh, frozen and cooked meats, sauces, soups and other packaged goods.

The organizational shuffle led the company to look at its sustainability strategy, given the growing interest by its customers — restaurants, supermarkets, packaged goods manufacturers and individual consumers — in food origins, ingredients, packaging and other matters. Prior to the reorg, some of Cargill’s individual businesses had sustainability leaders and goals, but not all.

For Cargill Protein, based in Wichita, Kansas, it was time to build sustainability’s profile within the organization and to its suppliers and customers. To do that, “We needed to develop a strategy,” said Jill Kolling, Cargill Protein’s sustainability leader. And that strategy would benefit from getting early input and buy-in from across the organization.

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Shaw Industries, other carpetmakers move to more sustainable production

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From Times Free Time:


The world’s biggest carpetmaker said Monday that 85 percent of its products are now certified for sustainability by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute as carpet and rugs are made with less energy and water and with a bigger share of recycled materials.

In its 2016 sustainability report, Shaw Industries Inc. said it has made major progress toward its sustainability goals, including a 36 percent reduction in water consumption, a 34 percent reduction in waste intensity, a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 16 percent reduction in energy use over the past decade. Since 2005, Shaw also has had a 40 percent reduction in the rate of OSHA safety incidents involving its workers.

“Shaw is continuing to invest and evolve to succeed amidst ever accelerating change in every market in which we compete,” Shaw CEO Vance Bell said. “Sustainability will continue to be an important catalyst for the sort of innovation that will drive our enduring success.”

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Strategic Teacher Initiative from Kell Robotics

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STI – Strategic Teacher Initiative for Technology, Engineering, and Computer Science from Kell Robotics on Vimeo.

From Kell Robotics:

The STI or Strategic Teacher Initiative is a proposal that is designed to put a technology, engineering, and computer science teacher in every school, in Georgia, and Nationally.  These 21st Century teachers will be ready to support the 4th Industrial Revolution, helping student from K-12 become the technology and business innovators and leaders of tomorrow.

The model listed here is designed for state level implementation and it is our hope to see it replicated in every state.

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Cedartown ‘backbone’ to invest $14.5M, create 60 more jobs in Polk County

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From Bizjournals

Cedartown’s “backbone” is getting bigger.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that office furniture manufacturer The HON Company will be expanding its Polk County facility with a $14.5 million investment that includes 60 new jobs.

The HON Company is an operating subsidiary of Muscatine, Iowa-based HNICorporation (NYSE: HNI), which is the second-largest office furniture manufacturer in the world, according to a press release from Deal’s office. The Cedartown facility was the company’s first plant outside of Iowa and has been in operation since 1969.

Deal said in the release that the HON Company has benefited from Georgia’s extensive manufacturing capabilities for decades.

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Upcoming Beers and Gears Event in Rome!

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On August 10th from 5-7 pm, Makervillage in Rome, Georgia will be hosting Alyssa Rumsey and John Morehouse from the Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing.  Alyssa and John will be sharing with attendees how they can provide support for manufacturers.  The CoIM provides technical industry expertise and facilitates partnerships to help Georgia manufacturers of all sizes connect, compete, and grow globally.  Focused in the area of product development, process improvement, and workforce development solutions, the Center has the knowledge and access to leading experts that can provide your business with the solutions to problems that you are not able to solve in-house.  I have attached a 1-pager flyer about the CoIM as well as a couple case studies of previous activities of the CoIM.

Come network with other manufacturers, learn more about CoIM, and enjoy some craft beer.

Find out more about this event here.


A toolkit for building successful community college-employer relationships

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From Brookings

Amid persistent concerns about the well-documented skills gap, community colleges have the potential to provide low-cost, high-quality education and training to students. Robust relationships between colleges and local industry partners are critical to building strong workforce development programs for students. In this context, this toolkit offers practical advice on how community college leaders can take a deliberate approach to communication with potential partners in their community, including local businesses and industry leaders.

Tips on using this toolkit:

  • This toolkit includes three sections, each of which discusses practical strategies that college leaders can tailor to their own circumstances to build and maintain productive relationships with industry partners. Feel free to navigate directly to the sections that are most relevant to your needs.
  • These recommendations are based on lessons learned from existing research and from conversations with industry and community college leaders as well as intermediaries.
  • You may also download a PDF of the full set of recommendations, which contains additional information as well as suggestions for further reading.

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Skilled workers needed: GNTC says machine tool program grant can help fill a big employment gap

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From the Dalton Daily Citizen

Jeffreys Manufacturing Solutions recently presented Georgia Northwestern Technical College with a $17,500 grant through the Gene Haas Foundation Machining Technology Scholarship for the college’s Machine Tool Technology program. The program will move to Dalton when the expansion at GNTC’s campus is completed in 2018. The presentation was made recently at Densmore Machine Co. In front, from left, are Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce President Rob Bradham; Johnathon Densmore, chief operating officer of Densmore Machine; David Aycock of Jeffreys Manufacturing Solutions, who made the presentation on behalf of the Haas Foundation; John Densmore Jr., CEO of Densmore Machine; and Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority Executive Director Carl Campbell. In back, from left, are state Sen. Chuck Payne; Carl Roberts, tooling supplier and engineer for Alternatives for Industry; Jimmy Densmore, CFO and operations manager for Densmore Machine; GNTC Machine Tool Technology program Director Philip Shirley and GNTC Director of Institutional Advancement James Gamel.

Now that ground has been broken for an expansion of the Dalton campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College, one local business is ready to take advantage of the programs that will be offered there.

During last week’s Whitfield Murray Campus Phase II groundbreaking ceremony, GNTC President Pete McDonald confirmed the college’s Machine Tool Technology program will move from the Walker County campus to the new Dalton facility. It will be part of the nearly $28 million project that will encompass 80,000 square feet.

Although the complex is not slated for completion until November of 2018, the move has Johnathon Densmore, chief operating officer of Densmore Machine Co. of Dalton, ready to see more opportunities for local companies like his.

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Anderson County (SC) QuickJobs Development Center

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From the TriCounty Technical College:


Whether you want to start a career, advance in your current career, learn new skills or complete job-related certifications, you’ll find what you need at the Anderson County Quick Jobs Development Center. Located on the Anderson Campus, the Center offers a wide variety of customized business and industry training through the College’s Corporate & Community Education (CCE) Division.

QuickJobs programs last anywhere from a few days to six months and are designed to provide the training necessary to build a strong, viable workforce by giving individuals the skills to get back into the job market or advance in their current job. Our QuickJobs Center is located at 512 Michelin Blvd. [Anderson, SC 29626], directly across the street from our main academic building.

Alternative System for Registered Apprenticeships

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From Inside HigherEd:

Workforce Development Week – Administration Issues Executive Order to Support and Expand Apprenticeships in America

Workforce Development was a focus last week at the President’s first meeting with a fully confirmed Cabinet. Department of Labor Secretary Acosta highlighted the issue by delivering a presentation on the importance of expanding apprenticeships in America, and the need for all agencies to support the Administration’s apprenticeship initiative. A memorandum discussing this policy issue, which every member of the Cabinet received, is available here.

On June 15, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding apprenticeships in the U.S.