On Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Blue Ridge Metals Corporation (BRM) advanced the Made in Henderson County campaign by hosting Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers and guidance counselors from North Henderson High School and Apple Valley Middle School. Factory manager, Steve Sheppard and Human Resource Supervisor, Melissa Bradley spent time with the group over lunch, discussing the company and the type of employment and skills which are in high demand.
BRM is a cold forming and wire processing company that primarily serves the North American automotive segment. Established in 1988 by the Central Yoshida Corporation, headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, the Fletcher-based company recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in June, 2013. According to Sheppard, “BRM has grown from a few employees to be a supplier of some of the most respected automotive brands in the world. Our local workforce includes 150 employees and 190,000 square feet of manufacturing space that houses the largest cold forming machine in North America.”
“Our operation is symbolic of what I like to call robust manufacturing,” added Sheppard. To be successful and to grow the company in Henderson County, the facility relies heavily on a highly skilled staff and the ability to attract new workers to the field. “Students interested in positions with our company should work to develop skills in mechanical, electronic and computer engineering. With a basic understanding of these principles, coupled with some professional training, BRM can help interested candidates obtain careers in CNC machining, welding, cold form operations, facility maintenance and quality control.”
“As educators we must recognize the strengths and needs of existing employers. Opportunities to interact with plant management and tour industrial operations can help educators reinforce classroom instruction and supply guidance counselors with real world examples of employment opportunities,” said Dr. Helen Owen, Career & Technical Education Director with Henderson County Public Schools.
Middle and high school students interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing like those supported by BRM are encouraged to consider pathways to employment that include CTE classes, participation in Henderson County Public School’s Mechatronics Academy, applied technology training at Blue Ridge Community College,and/or four-year degree programs focused on engineering, accounting, math, science and business management.
Henderson County, NC is home to 135 manufacturing operations that support a workforce of over 5,250 employees. With a combined total payroll of more than $259 million, and average wages exceeding $49,000/year, professions in the manufacturing sector continue to be an attractive value proposition for students as well as existing job seekers.
The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization that works to: retain and attract quality jobs; solicit new business compatible with the assets and values of Henderson County; promote Henderson County’s business image; assist expansion of existing companies; and enhance Henderson County’s overall quality of life.