Gift Provides Mobile Workforce Certification Center for BCC Trade Programs

Brunswick County’s rapid growth has exacerbated the critical shortage of skilled construction workers. In fact, the need is so severe that Brunswick Community College (BCC) received a grant titled Pathways to Purpose to educate any willing adult in one or more of the traditional construction trades: carpentry, plumbing, electrical, masonry and HVAC.

On August 20th a gift by W.J. and Sibyl McLamb was given to enable BCC to purchase equipment needed for construction trades training and certification, as well as a specially outfitted truck to take training into the community and jobsites.

The McLambs presented a check for $200,000 to BCC President Gene Smith during a small ceremony which included students, faculty, and staff of BCC trade programs housed in the W.J. and Sibyl McLamb Building on the College’s Bolivia campus.

In presenting the check, Mr. McLamb explained that his life experience had taught him how critical skilled trades people are to the success of a community and a business. “I’ve worked in construction since I was about fourteen,” said the 87-year-old life-long Brunswick County resident. “I’ve worked alongside, and managed, people who had incredible skills. I’ve also struggled to recruit skilled employees in times when there were few to be found.”

He said he hopes this funding, along with BCC’s Pathways to Purpose grant program, will encourage people to look to the skilled construction trades as a way to prepare themselves for successful careers.

“I was happy to have the students present when we awarded the check,” McLamb said. “Their faces showed surprise and appreciation,” McLamb said. “This gift can affect many lives, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m grateful for the many skilled employees who worked with me all these years which allowed me to be successful, and to give back to the county my wife and I love.”

With the McLamb gift, the school will purchase certification equipment, as well as a new F59 Step Van upfitted to include proper lighting, shelving, lift gate function and secure transport for certification kits. The van will be known as the BCC Mobile Workforce Certification Center and onboard will house the same equipment that would be found in a traditional classroom such as:

  • Precision Measurement (For Welding, Auto, Industrial Maintenance, Carpentry & Machine Tech)
  • 3M Safety (Metal Working)
  • Snap-On Meter Certification Kit
  • Snap-On Drop Prevention Certification Kit
  • Green Apple Labs Conduit Bending Basic Kit
  • Advanced Bending
  • Green Lee Whole Making Lab
  • Lincoln Welding Equipment
  • Lincoln Teaching Aid Toolbox

The industry recognized equipment and credentialing (welding, electrical, precision measurement, and safety) that is contained within the Mobile Workforce Certification Center will provide positive traction for the county’s overall economic development, especially when new companies are considering Brunswick County as a site for relocation, President Smith noted.

“The Mobile Workforce Certification Center will enable Brunswick Community College to establish lockstep alignment with our local industry’s workforce needs,” said BCC President Gene Smith. “This donation will ensure that access to workforce training keeps pace with the private sector’s employment needs. BCC will be prepared to deliver training and credentials to incumbent workers and job seekers anytime, any shift, at any location. In addition, it allows us to use budgeted equipment monies in other areas throughout the school. With an array of equipment needs, this gift is tremendously helpful in better serving our students and community.”

Certifications earned with the Mobile Workforce Certification Center and through Brunswick Community College’s NC3 (National Coalition of Certification Centers) membership are portable and can be used anywhere in the country to prove skill competencies needed to secure employment.

“My intention is that this equipment has an immediate impact on those students seeking accelerated training with minimal debt,” McLamb said.

“As long-time supporters of Brunswick Community College’s mission and as thoughtful community members, W. J. and Sibyl McLamb’s generosity leaves a legacy in Brunswick County that will ripple for generations to come,” Dr. Smith said.

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