ManuFirstSC program preparing Dorchester Co. residents for manufacturing jobs


Trident Technical College and Dorchester County teamed up last year to offer a free manufacturing class to residents and on Wednesday, News 2 got a look inside the classroom.

The ManuFirstSC program was developed about three years now and was offered for residents in Berkeley and Charleston Counties and now, as of last year, Dorchester County is funding classes for its residents.

“It doesn’t do us much good to attract a lot of higher paying jobs if our existing citizens can’t take advantage of them,” said John Truluck, the Director of Dorchester County Development.

The four-week, 62-hour class gives students the equivalent of one year of manufacturing experience to get them ready for the dozens of new jobs now available across the Lowcountry.

Officials told News 2 that the need for the classes emerged as more and more manufacturing facilities have opened up in the area such as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Boeing and more.

“We don’t really have that ready workforce population especially in the manufacturing and technical skills,” said Victoria New Cater, Assistant Director of Programming for Continuing Education at Trident Technical College. “This program is what gives people… all of things that you really need to be able to hit the ground running the first day in a manufacturing facility.”

About 700 students from Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties and other areas have graduated from the program since it began.

The class consists of four parts:

1. Safety – Teaching students about general safety precautions that need to be taken when working in manufacturing

2. Quality – Helping students understand that what’s being produced at a manufacturing facility meets customer’s expectations

3. Production and process – Giving students specific skill sets that are often required in manufacturing jobs

4. Maintenance awareness – Making sure that equipment and the facility are working at peak performance

On Wednesday, students were practicing for the Bennett Hand Tool Dexterity Test.

“[It’s] basically a test to make that you can move things quickly and assemble things quickly,” said New Cater.

Students were moving nuts, bolts and washers from one side of a wooden board to the other side. The goal is to move the parts across the board in under 10 minutes, a requirement of several companies in manufacturing.

Another class will be available to Dorchester County residents starting on March 18. It will be held at the Dorchester County QuickJobs Training Center on East Jim Bilton Boulevard in St. George from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Classes are also available for residents in Berkeley and Charleston counties at other locations.

To learn more about the programs and to sign up, call the Continuing Education department at Trident Technical College: (843) 574-6177.

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