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Greenville Tech President Keith Miller and Clemson University President James F. Barker shake hands after signing the agreement.
Craig Mahaffey/Clemson University

GREENVILLE — Greenville Technical College and Clemson University Tuesday announced an agreement to educate the advanced manufacturing workforce to serve the automotive, transportation and other high-tech sectors.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed by Greenville Tech President Keith Miller and Clemson University President James F. Barker, the vision is for collaboration between a leading research university, an innovative technical college and advanced manufacturers to create a center that enhances the development and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies.

The Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI), to be located at the Millennium Campus adjacent to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) Technology Neighborhood 1, will offer education designed to meet industry needs. It will include dual-credit programs in partnership with Greenville County Schools, bridge programs that allow a student to move from associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree and workforce training and certificate programs that increase the qualifications of manufacturing employees.

Research for innovation in advanced manufacturing and future technologies related to advanced manufacturing will be incorporated into instruction. This will allow students to gain practical experience working alongside experienced engineers, faculty and staff.

The center will engage K-12 students and show them the possibilities that exist in advanced manufacturing careers through dual enrollment programs, tours, camps and open houses.


President James F. Barker speaks at the event.
Craig Mahaffey/Clemson University

From an economic development perspective, Upstate leaders have said that the economic development race will be won by communities that offer the services manufacturers need. To help companies compete globally, employers need a flexible, highly-skilled workforce equipped to maximize new technologies, adapt to evolving production processes and work organization models and solve problems rapidly.

The Center for Manufacturing Innovation also will offer landing pad space that helps companies start up or relocate and will provide flexible space where manufacturers can create prototypes and teach their current employees new skills to keep them on the cutting edge of improvements in technology.

The idea for the campus began with the needs of employers. As the concept has been developed, leaders with area manufacturers, including BMW, Michelin, GE, Bosch Rexroth, ADEX Machining Technologies, League Manufacturing, JTEKT Koyo, Fabri-Kal, SpecFab Services, Master PT, Standard Motor Products and more, have voiced strong support for the project and have provided input that has allowed plans for a Center for Manufacturing Innovation to take shape.

In September, the Greenville County Council gave unanimous approval to a $25 million bond issue for Greenville Technical College to build an enterprise campus.

“Our intent as we have worked toward the creation of this Center for Manufacturing Innovation has been to better meet the needs of manufacturers in our area, so that those companies can continue to move our economy forward,” said Miller. “By collaborating with Clemson University as we also work closely with Greenville County Schools, we have education in the Upstate serving as a powerful and united force for workforce development.”

Barker said Clemson is proud and happy to be Greenville’s public research university partner. “Today we celebrate another important partnership with Greenville Technical College to provide the advanced manufacturing workforce education our community needs,” Barker said.


Greenville Technical College
Greenville Technical College is a four-campus system where nearly 30,000 students are annually preparing for the strongest careers of today and tomorrow. Established in 1962, the college’s mission is to drive personal and economic growth through learning. With more than 100 curriculum program choices along with short-term training for career and personal development, Greenville Technical College gives employers a ready supply of skilled workers and provides students with an education that will help them succeed.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research is a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus where university, industry and government organizations collaborate. Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science offers master’s and Ph.D. programs in automotive engineering at CU-ICAR and is conducting leading-edge applied research in critical areas, such as advanced product-development strategies, sustainable mobility, intelligent manufacturing systems and advanced materials. CU-ICAR has industrial-scale laboratories and testing equipment in world-class facilities available for commercial use.