SALISBURY – This week high school students get a taste of modern manufacturing taking place in their backyards.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools celebrated Manufacturing Day for the fifth year in a row on October 1, but they celebrate the day all month long. This week, students tour local facilities to take a look at the manufacturing process. Two of the tours took place at Custom Golf Car Supply in Salisbury on Wednesday.
The manufacturer takes frames and engines from original equipment manufacturers, designs and builds custom golf carts from scratch. He busies himself most of the day with plastic and metal forming, cutting, welding and padding jobs to meet the demand of customers across the country.
Students saw the manufacturing processes for each part and the warehouse space filled with finished products. The students also got to take a look at the 3D printers the company uses to prototype new designs.
Other manufacturer students visiting this week include Hexagon Agility and McKenzie Creative Brands. The district also broadcasts virtual tours of many facilities so that other people can see some of the work.
Latisha Smith, an educational career coach at Salisbury High School, said the experiences give students exposure they otherwise wouldn’t have. Smith said there are promising opportunities in the manufacturing sector, even for students who do not intend to pursue a four-year study.
“We can watch videos all day, but to see them on the pitch they then talk to us about the different positions they can learn,” Smith said.
Custom Golf Car Supply’s quality manager Tony Tousignant led the tours on Wednesday. He said tours had been arranged at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in the past and the company hired many people who attended the college, including two current employees. During the tour, Tousignant told the students that the company was looking for employees.
Tousignant explained to the tour group the basics of each process, from machines that turn plastics into shapes with thicknesses of up to a few sheets of paper, to others that drill and bend pipes into shapes.
General Manager David Rosier said he enjoys giving tours. He worked in plastics manufacturing at the age of 18 and finds the manufacturing processes fascinating. He did other things and got a college degree, but it all started when he was working as an operative one summer.
“And you are not cataloged,” said Rosier. “You learn so much. “
Gabrielle Miller, a junior from Salisbury High School who attended the school’s afternoon tour, said the visit opened her eyes to different jobs.
Miller is interested in welding and is currently taking a course in metals and fabrication. She said she had never seen equipment on the scale of what she saw in the factory on Wednesday.
“It’s a different experience,” Miller said. “I’ve never been to a factory like this.”