When GF Linamar, a light metal foundry, was looking for a place to locate, Blue Ridge Community College provided all the right tools to help the company have a skilled pipeline to fill its workforce needs. To date, GF Linamar has hired 308 employees from Henderson County and the surrounding area. These jobs have an average wage of $50,545, which is above the county average.
In February 2016, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $550,000 to Blue Ridge Community College to purchase a high-pressure die casting cell that the college will use to train potential and incumbent workers for GF Linamar and employees of other companies in the region. No other community college in the state has this type of training equipment and capability.
Golden LEAF funding helped equip the new Southeastern Advanced Molding Technology Education Center (SAMTEC). The center was part of a larger project to help bring GF Linamar to Henderson County. GF Linamar produces high-pressure die cast products for the automobile industry. This equipment not only will support GF Linamar but will also provide training capabilities for other local industries. Blue Ridge Community College’s SAMTEC lab located on its Henderson County Campus opened in May 2017 and has so far enabled training of more than 300 incumbent workers at GF Linamar and other area companies.
The college also has instructors with years of experience in the field and works the training programs in shifts so that students can work while earning stackable credentials, degrees, and diplomas. To date, 146 students have earned industry recognized credentials.
Blue Ridge Community College is committed to helping its students gain the skills needed to be employed in quality jobs. Partnerships and collaboration are the key to making these training programs successful.