Jerald Grimes is a welder at Kobelco Construction Machinery in Moore, SC, where he helps to assemble the upper and lower frames of the 20 ton hydraulic excavators the company produces for worldwide distribution.
“I like welding, any kind of welding,” he says, excitedly. “I’ve been doing this for 31 years and love it.”
The components that Jerald welds fit together are big and require from three to six passes to weld.
“He’s one of my best welders,” says Jason Martel, Production Fabrication Supervisor at Kobelco.
The fabrication area where Jerald works currently produces one and a half frame assemblies per day and are ahead of their schedule.
“We ship one thing out of the plant and that’s a fully assembled excavator,” says Eric Holland, Human Resources Manager at Kobelco. Eventually, the company will produce eight different types of excavators ranging in size from 17 to 50 tons. “Right now, we’re producing one every two days. The next production goal is one a day. The capacity with one shift is 1,800 per year. That’s upwards of nine a day, or one an hour.”
The other was recently praised by someone millions consider one.
On Thursday, certified deaf interpreter Jason Hurdich — who became a sensation around the country for the enthusiastic manner in which he signed for former Gov. Nikki Haley during her televised Hurricane Matthew news conferences — drove from Charleston to Seabrook on Thursday to visit Ambriance Lamar, a senior at Whale Branch Early College High School.
The 18-year-old student, who is not deaf but is unable to vocalize because of a medical condition, got a great deal of media attention after former president Barack Obama wrote her Jan. 9 in response to the letter Lamar had written him three months earlier.
Fourteen Deaf and hard of hearing clients attended a two-week pilot program at VR’s Evaluation Center in West Columbia in January. The clients engaged in team-building exercises, practiced interviewing skills, learned about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), participated in assessments and vocational evaluations.
“We started them off on the ropes course at Wil Lou Gray because we wanted to see what they were capable of,” says Shonna Magee, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator. The group quickly bonded as they worked together and encouraged each other while climbing the catwalk, balancing on platforms and zip lining.
The Marlboro Area Office and SC Works of Bennettsville sponsored a local Manufacturing Talent Fair on January 24. Twelve manufacturing representatives from both Carolinas received applications from, and interviewed, manufacturing job seekers from the region.
David Turnipseed, Greenville Area Supervisor, and Jim Carino, North American Rescue (NAR) Vice President of Operations, were guest speakers at the Greenville CAN / Greenville Society for Human Resource Management Disability Lunch & Learn Series at the Greenville Technical Center for Manufacturing Innovation on January 24.
Taylor Duckworth, Orenthal Keith and Mark Lowell are the first three graduations of the Starbucks Inclusion Academy. The three interns spent six weeks at Starbuck’s Sandy Run Roasting Plant in Gaston learning a variety of skills that are transferable across job settings.
“I've worked hard for this,” says Orenthal. “I learned I'm capable, and can do a lot more than I knew. It feels really good.”
“This experience provided the interns with a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills in a job setting, but without the pressure involved in a traditional hire,” says Jacob Chorey, VR Program Planning and Evaluation Coordinator. Chorey was also one of the job coaches for the interns.
The Inclusion Academy is a partnership between Starbucks, VR and The Arc of the Midlands. VR provided a job coach and classroom instructors, The Arc of the Midlands also provided a job coach, and Starbucks provided hard hats, ear plugs, hair and beard nets, safety vests and goggles, and gloves for the interns.
Oconee-Pickens staff participated in the Fourth Annual Collins Home Mud Run in August. Collins Children’s Home provides care to children and families through residential home care, counseling and family outreach.
Embassy Suites, WIS International, Allegiance Staffing, Kimco Services, Diversified Maintenance, Lake Murray Environmental, and Sam’s Club participated in a hiring event on November 16 which resulted in 8 VR clients receiving employment opportunities
The Spartanburg Area Office partnered with the Upstate Workforce Investment Board and Goodwill to facilitate a Poverty Simulator at the Middle Tyger campus of Spartanburg Community college on October 12.