THOMASVILLE (June 1, 2022) – With storied names like Lexington and Thomasville in its back yard, you’d expect Davidson-Davie Community College to have a long history with the furniture industry. And it does.
But that relationship has “morphed” over the years, Dr. Darrin Hartness, President of Davidson-Davie, says in the accompanying video.
The college supplies the industry not so much with craftsmen or woodworkers these days as it does with technicians to keep its robots running.
With furniture makers like Ashley Furniture and EGGER Wood Products nearby, “The majority of the support we provide for those advanced manufacturers (is) through industrial maintenance,” Hartness says.
“The industry is looking for great minds who are problem solvers who can ensure that their machinery and their robotics are efficient and are running properly.”
WHEN EGGER WOOD PRODUCTS, an Austrian wood-panel manufacturer with 20 plants around the globe, opened its first North American plant in 2020 in Linwood, near Lexington, the company brought with it a new apprenticeship program, Hartness says.
Davidson-Davie provided customized training for workers at the $700 million plant. But the college also worked with EGGER to develop an apprenticeship consortium among manufacturers in Davidson and Davie counties who offer apprenticeships to the college’s students.
“Not only do they get a great job,” Hartness says. “They work on the job and learn skills that you can only learn on the job, but they’re also getting an associate’s degree.
“So what an awesome opportunity for students in Davidson and Davie counties to be a part of that apprenticeship consortium.”