FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - We're taking you inside the new degree local companies, a college and one university created to meet the growing need for engineers in our area.
This is the first semester students are taking classes in the Industrial Engineering program at Francis Marion University.
Assistant Professor, Lorna Cintron-Gonzalez, is new to the school. She was hired to teach the students, which the university hopes will one day fill positions here at home.
"What companies are looking for - they're not looking to spend a lot of money on one person, when we can train them locally and keep them here and pay them a normal salary," Lorna Cintron-Gonzales.
Cintron-Gonzalez taught students about the importance accuracy in supply and demand through a simple demonstration.
"It makes students realize the different alternatives that a manufacturing company can have," said Cintron-Gonzaels
Companies like Duke Energy, Santee Cooper and Honda of Timmonsville approached the school about a program that would train students, who could immediately fill positions after graduation. Those companies also played a major role in creating the industrial program.
Olivia Wilkes, in one of the students looking forward to the opportunity she may walk into, after finishing the program
"I'm excited to know that I will be going through the first class, and it gives me the opportunity to get to know the businesses around me better," said Olivia Wilkes.
These engineering students not only learn on FMU's Campus, they learn in the labs of the SIMT Building, over at Florence Darlington Technical College.
It's here, students learn 3-D drawing and in the future will get that highly coveted hands on experience, many industrial companies are looking for.
"If you don't have someone grounded to the Pee Dee region and mainly to South Carolina, then it's going to be hard to keep someone here in the area," said Cintron-Gonzales.