Pulaski County students prepare for possible careers in manufacturing

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PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) With a strong heritage in manufacturing, including furniture and textile mills in the past and high-tech, fast-paced, global manufacturing now, Pulaski County is looking to continue strong in the field.

Friday, school kids were welcomed by some of the major plants in the county as part of the third annual Manufacturing Day.

High school students had the chance to tour the large Volvo plant in Dublin, to learn about modern manufacturing and the innovative technologies used in everyday manufacturing.

High school senior Jaceri Eavas said, "This is a good learning experience to see what they have to offer and to see what opportunities are available to us in the future.”

Senior Kayla Farmer added, "This is an opportunity for every kid to learn a new adventure and be exposed to new things and what life has to offer."

“The world is moving toward logistics and engineering and it is important us to be prepared," sophomore Bryant Worell said.

While older students visited Volvo, Korona Candles welcomed 5th graders from Riverlawn Elementary School to give the kids a hand-on experience.

Sylvia Davis of Korona said about welcoming the 5th graders, "We are proud to offer our Manufacturing Day Event to the next-generation of workers. After watching my friend’s high school grads struggle with post-graduation school/career choices, it became obvious to me that we don’t focus enough energy or education on options for kids who are not college-minded, college-interested or college-able. Manufacturing Day is our chance at Korona to show that it is possible to work in a cool job with steady pay—with or without a college education.”

Opportunities like this are crucial for kids who may join the fast moving world of manufacturing one day.

Pulaski Count Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Siers said, "“Manufacturing has been the backbone of Pulaski County's economy since its founding in 1839. Throughout three different centuries, our citizens have worked hard and supported their families through such work as producing swords in Snowville, building furniture in Pulaski, and assembling trucks in Dublin. Pulaski County Public Schools is extremely proud of the role that our schools have played in producing a high quality workforce that made Pulaski County a manufacturing hub in Southwest Virginia. We enjoy a great number of community partnerships with local manufacturers and are always excited to work with these partners to design educational programs that give our graduates a competitive edge for employment. Manufacturing Day is the one day each year when all of these efforts come together in a way that amplifies the work that has been done and strengthens the connections between our schools, students, and potential future employers."

And that can mean big things for the future of Pulaski County's economy.

County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said of the possibilities, ""The Board of Supervisors' and the IDA's partnership with our Chamber to host Manufacturing Day further displays the importance being put on workforce and economic development. Investments of time and resources in our youth are indeed investments in our manufacturers, in our community and in our future." "I'm proud of our local leadership, thankful to our Chamber and truly excited about the employment opportunities our students will one day have right here in Pulaski County."

Manufacturing Day is sponsored by Pulaski County IDA and the Chamber of Commerce. Chamber staff said they're already planning for a bigger, better Manufacturing Day in 2018.

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