Pathways to a Paycheck

Pathways to a Paycheck
Posted on 10/08/2018
ABB By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Buncombe County Middle College (BCMC) students got to picture themselves in high-tech manufacturing jobs on Tuesday.

As part of a program called Pathways to a Paycheck, they toured the facilities of ABB Group in Weaverville and Eaton Corp. in Arden. The tour group saw both automated and human-driven processes – from robot arms and heavy machinery to the finesse of welders and craftsmen. They learned about a huge range of jobs available to those who pursue a career in manufacturing, from supply chain management to machining and engineering to marketing and logistics.

“I gained some knowledge about manufacturing that I wouldn't expect,” said Kimberly, an 11th-grader. “It made me realize the importance of manufacturing, and that it affects everybody's daily life from light switches to cars.”

Alyssa, a senior, said she was especially impressed by the massive robot arms at ABB, which despite their size and weight, moved gracefully to shave tiny bits of metal off of custom machine components.

“It was so precise,” she said. “I liked watching it work.”

BCMC teacher Jason Rhodes said these facility tours give students a detailed look at opportunities for future career paths.

“Not only do we get to see the inner workings of a factory, but also our students learn about the pay, benefits, and what education they need to get started,” he said. “A trip like this also helps educators learn more about what's out there, which helps us continue to make sure we're helping our students be career and college ready.”

Dale Spivey, ABB’s Weaverville plant manager, said around 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be available by 2025, and each one of those jobs creates another 2.5 new jobs in goods and services.

“There are a ton of manufacturing jobs available,” he said. “They offer good pay and benefits. And they have a lot of room for growth.”