Panel discussion highlights forum on Thursday

Jul. 16, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

Business and education interests will be the focal point of the Manufacturing Works forum Thursday morning at Vance-Granville Community College.

The event is a joint venture sponsored by N.C. State University and its Institute for Emerging Issues, Vance-Granville Community College and economic development offices in Vance, Warren and Franklin counties.

Granville County had a similar event in May.

“Our goal is connecting the local education system and the manufacturers, so that there is a connect rather than a disconnect between what is going on in the school systems, both in the public school system and the community college system, and what the needs and future needs are that the manufacturing community is looking at,” said Stuart Litvin, director of the Henderson-Vance County EDC.

Sharon Decker, the secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, will be joined in a panel discussion by Stelfanie Williams, Mike Heiss, George Rusincovitch and Todd Wemyss.

“It’ll be interesting,” Litvin said. “You’re going to have a panel discussion, which will have the secretary of commerce. But it’ll have three people from the manufacturing sector talking about what their perceived needs will be, the skill sets that are needed, the training required, and what strategies we can put in the school system to meet those needs.”

Williams is president of Vance-Granville, Heiss is senior manager in Science and Technology at Novozymes North America, Rusincovitch is vice president of manufacturing for Vescom North America and Wemyss is general manager of Glen Raven, Inc.

Tom White, the economic development director at N.C. State, will serve as moderator.

County extension directors Morris White, Crystal Smith and Charles Mitchell will lead respective breakout discussions.

“They’ll be identifying strategies to better align the education institutions with the manufacturers, how to make it stronger and more direct,” Litvin said. “It’s my understanding, after that, there’ll be kind of a report back on what was said at each of those.”

Registration, as of mid-afternoon Tuesday, was approaching 90. Online registration remains available cvent.com/d/kcqb1x/1Q and at the door registration will be accepted Thursday morning.

Activities in the civic center begin at 8 a.m. and are expected to last just over two hours.

“The more who attend, the more input we can have, and that’s important,” Litvin said. “And that’s employers, educators and government. They need to hear what is said by the panel, and what the community will say about the best way to go about meeting those needs.”

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.