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Manufacturing leaders use interactive platform to drum up interest amid staffing shortages

October 21, 2021

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) – ‘The future is in manufacturing’ is the message one group is trying to hammer home to young people to help recruit more people for jobs – and fight shortages during the pandemic.

Creators Wanted, a new interactive cross-country touring platform, stopped at Nephron Pharmaceuticals in West Columbia Thursday.

High school students like Tyreke Gilliard got an inside look at what it takes to work in the manufacturing industry, with puzzles to solve – and codes to crack with his classmates inside the mobile truck.

“So far it’s been amazing. I got to learn new things. Talk to new people. And meet new people,” said Gilliard.


“A lot of kids really haven’t seen anything like this, so it might open their minds and get them to explore even further in the depth,” said Dedric Tisdale, a logistics teacher at Lake Marion High School in Orangeburg County, visiting the display with his students.

The National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute launched the interactive experience two weeks ago. Representatives tell WACH FOX News the goal is to reach six-hundred thousand new potential manufacturers.

With supply chain disruptions – and staff shortages due to the pandemic – it’s been difficult to fill the more than nine-hundred thousand job openings in manufacturing nationwide.

“We’ve had to come up with creative and innovative ways to do workarounds. We’re all hiring. We see many of our workforce want to stay at home and not come back,” said Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy, alluding to continuing concerns.

Creators Wanted’ information and presentation is an effort to build back the workforce – and strengthen South Carolina’s economy. SC Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette highlighted its significance.

“We want to make sure that our young people understand that these manufacturing jobs are amazing jobs that help to sustain families and create and build lives,” said Evette. “We’re building dream liners in Charleston. We’re building flyer planes in the upstate. We’re building boats that are going to the Princes of Qatar. South Carolina’s fingerprints are on goods that are going all across the world.”

All to leave a lasting impression on students like Dewayne Hand and other generations of talent.

“I think manufacturing is very important because without it – all this technology wouldn’t exist,” said Hand.

The ‘Creators Wanted’ space will be touring in multiple states next, including Iowa and Pennsylvania. Those that want more information about the experience, jobs and opportunities can visit their website.