Wake Tech Training Will Help Boost Manufacturing in NC
College Officials Join Senator Kay Hagan for Tour of Local Pergo Facility
RALEIGH, N.C. (August 20, 2013) - Wake Tech leaders joined U.S. Senator Kay Hagan today for a tour of the Pergo manufacturing plant in Garner. Wake Tech will soon launch a customized employee training program for Pergo, a global leader in laminate flooring. The program will provide training in advanced manufacturing techniques, or high-tech automation, as well as “soft” skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.
Sen. Hagan arranged the tour as she announced the formation of a new committee dedicated to boosting North Carolina’s manufacturing sector. “The best way to grow manufacturing or any of our key sectors is by talking to people on the ground,” said Hagan.
The visitors learned how advanced manufacturing, or automation, has enabled Pergo to become a world leader in the production of flooring materials. Automation is the centerpiece of the new, customized training program Wake Tech is preparing for employees at the company.
“Like every other industry, manufacturing has changed dramatically over the years – and our training programs have had to stay ahead of that curve,” said Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott. “Automation is the future of manufacturing, and that’s why it is the focus of our training program. Wake Tech is pleased to partner with Pergo to help its employees become skilled in the latest techniques and technologies.”
Wake Tech’s partnership with Pergo dates back to 1996, when Wake Tech provided training in technical processes such as milling and bonding. That’s also when the college launched its Manufacturing Certification Program, which includes manufacturing concepts as well as soft skills training. Wake Tech was called upon again to train new employees when Pergo expanded in 2004, and the college added an “On the Job” training component for existing employees. This latest round of training will also include Lean Six Sigma, a program that helps companies ensure quality while eliminating waste. Wake Tech Business and Industry Services Dean Tim Lucas is one of the area’s only Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belts.
Senator Hagan cited the partnership between Wake Tech and Pergo as an example of the collaborations that are needed to create jobs. While North Carolina is the fourth-largest manufacturing state in the country, it has been hit harder than most because of declines in the textile, furniture, and tobacco industries.