Workforce summit to examine auto, aerospace needs, opportunities

Engineering expertise and educational requirements needed by aerospace and automotive manufacturers can be met through WCU’s Rapid Center.

Reinforcing its role as a regional partner for economic growth, Western Carolina University will host an aerospace and automotive workforce summit Friday, April 26, on campus in the conference room of Blue Ridge Hall.

The summit will provide an open forum for manufacturers, educators, economic developers and others to discuss the needs of high-tech industry and how to develop collaborative efforts in the 24 westernmost counties of North Carolina.

Jeffrey Ray

“There are factors and logistics for consideration that will lead to crucial decisions on how to move forward,” said Jeffrey Ray, dean of WCU’s College of Engineering and Technology. “Key topics during the morning panels will be strengthening the supply chain for aerospace and auto manufacturers, how to meet technical workforce needs and increasing economic development networking opportunities throughout the region. This event will draw together viable solutions from the key players for the entire mountain community.”

The summit begins at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Following the summit, tours will be offered in WCU’s Rapid Center, a research and development facility on the Cullowhee campus that partners with businesses, industry and entrepreneurs to develop new products and processes, utilizing high-tech engineering labs and equipment.

Confirmed panelists include representatives from Duotech in Franklin, Moog in Murphy and Borg-Warner Turbo in Asheville.

The summit is free but registration is requested. To register, email cet@wcu.edu or call 828-227-2158.