2/22/2018 – Students take a tour of the modern furniture industry

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by admin

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February 22, 2018

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By Jordan Davis
(Lenoir) News-Topic

 

A group of educators, counselors and administrators from the Caldwell County Schools toured two Fairfield Chair Company plants Wednesday to help them learn how modern furniture plants are unlike the ones where their parents and grandparents may have worked.

 

The group marveled as the workers used computer-controlled machines that were able to detect patterns in fabric and use the information to guide where it was cut. Such sophisticated machinery and software drastically cuts production time.

 

Keith Hindman, the middle school coordinator for Caldwell County Schools, said the purpose of this tour was to show educators and counselors how much the production industry has changed in the past five years and how many opportunities are available for their students.

 

“It is vital for our students to understand the wonderful opportunities for employment here in Caldwell County,” he said. “Production such as this is not only coming back but flourishing now.”

 

There are still many entry-level positions available, but many of the jobs have evolved with technology and require new sets of skills — particularly computer skills.

 

Greg Davis, instructional management coordinator for the school system’s Career and Technical Education Department, said his department is teaching computer skills to middle and high school students every day.

 

“The amount of skills needed and the technology here, compared to my father’s generation, is tremendous,” he said. “You have to have some technical skills to do this, which is what we teach in CTE. … I see all levels of employment here for students – two-year, four-year degrees or high school education – it is all available to them.”

 

Davis said that it is now educators’ job to let Caldwell County students know about the high-paying jobs available in the area.

 

“One of the best-kept secrets today are these opportunities,” he said.

 

Laura Brinkley, CTE coordinator, said that counselors and teachers were invited on this tour because they are face-to-face with students every day and can convey how much the industry is changing.

 

“There is a new type of work for these kids, but I think a lot of people have a bad taste in their mouth about the furniture industry. I think they see it as dirty and old-fashioned, but it’s changing,” she said. “A lot of kids are interested in this computerized equipment that has been brought into the industry.”

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