Around 200 students, prospective students, business leaders and area residents attended an open house on Aug. 2 for the newly completed G. Allen Mebane IV Industrial Training Center at the Yadkin campus of Surry Community College in Yadkinville. The center will house vocational programs such as welding, machining, electrical systems, mechatronics and truck driver training offered through the college.
The facility is named for the founder of UNIFI, Inc. and with new courses that will be taught there, local students will, for the first time in Yadkin County, be able to pursue a technical certification in their home county. Programs available at the Yadkin campus will include mechatronics, Associate in Arts (college transfer), truck driver training, nurse aide and new to the Yadkin Center, machining, welding and electrical.
“It’s great that Unifi felt that it was important to sponsor us here. We’re greatly appreciative of that,” said Wayne Matthews, director of the Yadkin Center.
An initial Golden LEAF Grant of $200,000 helped to fund construction of the 12,450-square-foot space and a second Golden LEAF Grant of $800,000 was used to purchase advanced manufacturing program equipment. A certified Professional Truck Driver Institute driving range on the Yadkin Center campus is a part of the complex as well.
“As a native of Yadkin County, to see this facility in place and to know what it can do for our folks in Yadkin County, our citizens, to provide the educational opportunities to meet the needs of our industries in this area, it’s tremendous,” Matthews said. “It’s going to allow our folks to stay here and have a quality education.”
Bobby Todd, president of the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce voiced his excitement over the new training center as well.
“It hasn’t come overnight but we now have the opportunity for kids to learn skills they need in today’s world. They can stay right here in Yadkin County, they don’t have to leave to get a higher education or the job after they have that education, so we’re really excited,” Todd said.
Todd added that he hopes the new facility will bring renewed interest in the manufacturing field which is now a highly skilled and highly technical computer based industry.
“It’s not our parents manufacturer. My generation has done a horrible job of telling our kids that they don’t want to go into manufacturing, but it’s a totally different game now,” Todd said.
Surry Community College hopes to attract Yadkin County high school juniors and seniors to technical careers through the North Carolina Career & College Promise program, which provides technical career courses tuition-free, allowing students to receive a technical credential in addition to a high school diploma. Through this program, students will have opportunities for enhanced work-based learning with Yadkin County business and industry, building a workforce pathway.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.
Randy Rogers, Director of Facilities, Surry Community College.