Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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19 Continued from 18 MANUFACTURING facturing jobs. "Where I see the trend changing is the technology may require more investment," Gettys said. "The machinery is more expensive and it, actually, may require less labor. What that also does is it increases the skills of the people who work in manu- facturing. "It's just changed the whole dynamics of what manufacturing used to look like as opposed to what it is today." One benefit from the changes is that higher skill levels are also matched with higher pay, she said. In her position as the county's economic development director, she works to retain and support existing industries. She is also focused on creating new jobs through industry expansions and new locations. "My number one priority is our existing industries," Gettys said. "We work very closely with our existing industries to pro- vide information for them, be a resource for them and support them in their growth efforts or their challenges." Wayne County is marketed for its easy access to interstates and U.S. highways, railroads, international airports, East Coast ports and local education opportuni- ties, including Wayne Community College and the University of Mount Olive. "These are all very important factors in the decision making of a company landing in a community," Gettys said. "Workforce is number one and access to skilled labor." Wayne County is able to market its workforce because of the mix of military spouses, depend- ents and retired Air Force personnel, she said. "The military presence here in Wayne County is another strong asset that we have that attracts industries because they like coming to military friendly communities, and they know those skill sets are here with our military," Gettys said. "A large portion of our retiring military choose to retire here. I think that speaks volumes for our community." Even with its strengths, Wayne County also has challenges including a skill gap between col- lege educated residents and others without any college or training, Gettys said. "You've got your high-end, university bound, focused future workforce or you (have people who) are not going to school at all and struggling to have those skills and be able to even work in a manufacturing plant," Gettys said. "What we're trying to do is bridge that gap and encourage our future workforce." Local companies also grapple with the inability to find workers with a strong work ethic, some- times referred to as soft skills. Working to meet challenges while focusing on the county's assets should pay off in the long run, Gettys said. "If we can continue focusing on the future workforce, addressing the skills gap, supporting our existing industries in those areas, providing resources for them, finding ways or supporting their efforts to succeed and grow, I think we'll see growth among our existing industries or sustainability," Gettys said. "I think we will grow. It's just a matter of time." Crystal Gettys with many of the food, textile and industrial products made by companies with which the Wayne County Development Alliance works to strengthen and stabilize. Line Leader John Muncy cleans a gasket stamping machine using a process called dry icing. The mold is rendered clean after spraying super cooled high pressure air into the grooves removing any residue from previous stamping.

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