ManuFirst SC Students in Cross Plan for Graduation Celebration

[Oct 28, 2019] – Over 20 adult residents of the Cross community and surrounding area are preparing for a graduation ceremony for the ManuFirst SC program. The celebration will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019, at 6pm at Cross High School. Following the ceremony, graduates will have an opportunity to meet with manufacturing employers willing to accept the certificate en lieu of 1 year manufacturing experience. The ManuFirst SC program is an expedited and condensed manufacturing course to better train—and do it quickly—the local workforce to not only increase area job opportunities but also meet a need of local manufacturing plants seeking skilled workers. While its free to qualified Berkeley County residents, the program requires 100 percent attendance.

The County recently celebrated 31 graduates of the ManuFirst SC program in St. Stephen. “We sat with Volvo and some long hours when they came to Berkeley County because they said they wanted to do something for Berkeley County; and they came up with this course,” said LaRone Murphy, business consultant services with Trident Technical College.

Kristen Lanier, the county’s workforce development manager, explained further.

“This was something that Berkeley County did for our residents,” she said. “When we bring in these new companies, it means a lot to our residents to have the opportunity to fill these jobs.”

Berkeley County worked in partnership with Trident Technical College, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Volvo Cars, and Ready SC to pilot the program in June of 2017. More than 150 people graduated from the Lean Manufacturing course, which put them on the path to employment opportunities at Volvo Cars in Ridgeville. Since then, neighboring counties have emulated the training program to provide opportunities for residents around the state with more than 900 graduates in the Tri-County area, including 400 Berkeley County residents. SC Department of Commerce has rebranded the program to ManuFirstSCTM and has begun to roll it out across the state’s technical college system by industry demand.

Berkeley County provided scholarships to residents who met the following criteria:

At least 18 years old

Able to legally work in the United States

Provide documentation of Berkeley County residency

Have a high school diploma or GED

Provide proof of a Bronze WIN/WorkKeys score

Pass a SC SLED background check (paid for by the scholarship)

Pass a basic panel drug screen (paid for by the scholarship)