SPARTANBURG — Clemson University President James P. Clements told textile industry leaders Thursday that Clemson is helping to educate a qualified workforce for their businesses, which have evolved from weaving cotton to manufacturing synthetic fibers and composite materials and specialized, high-performance fabrics.

“I am here today to tell you that Clemson University is in the business of providing the right kind of workforce for your industry at every level, from Ph.D. scientists and engineers, to collaborating with South Carolina technical colleges on technical education for skilled workers, to programs with schools to promote STEM education in the earliest grades,” he said at the fifth annual Textile Summit hosted by the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Textile Council.

In keeping with both the vision of Clemson University founder Thomas Green Clemson and the priorities set in the Clemson 2020 Roadmap, the university will continue to educate and provide talent for the new economy and provide the research and innovation that drives economic growth, he said.

Clements noted that Clemson textiles now is a high-tech, advanced manufacturing industry. Clemson is doing research in advanced fibers, optical fibers, films, polymers and composite materials.

He said the workforce needs of the knowledge economy include people in these kinds of high-end jobs in engineering, research, design and technology, along with a manufacturing workforce with highly specialized technical educations. The Clemson University Center for Workforce Development is working with schools and technical colleges to help educate skilled workers for the good jobs that exist in advanced manufacturing, Clements said.

“Clemson University’s pledge to you is to continue to support the education, research and development you need to maintain a viable, 21st century manufacturing industry in this state, including a textiles industry,” said Clements.

“Clemson University knows it is a myth to think manufacturing is disappearing in this state,” he said. “Your own report on South Carolina’s Manufacturing Renaissance shows that from January 2008 to August 2013, South Carolina has recruited 64,650 new jobs and more than $19.2 billion in capital investments.”

- Peyton Bullard

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South Carolina Textile Council
The South Carolina Textile Council is a division of the South Carolina Manufactures Alliance. Its mission is to enhance the position of the textile manufacturing sectors within the state.