Boeing ambassadors pay a call on Oconee County
The huge N. Charleston plant that builds airplanes is a four-hour drive from Oconee County, but that distance is made shorter today by a visit from a pair of Boeing South Carolina ambassadors. Boeing has started an outreach program to build good relations with its South Carolina neighbors and to promote job possibilities to high school students. Today Boeing’s Tommy Preston and Frank Hatten are visiting Oconee’s three high schools to engage students about the possibilities for them to earn good salaries in Boeing South Carolina’s world of advanced manufacturing. They also spoke to the business forum sponsored this morning by the Oconee Economic Alliance. According to Preston, a Pickens County native, after nine years in South Carolina, Boeing is committed to South Carolina and has made its niche in building the 787 Dreamliner, a plane that Preston describes as “a computer in the sky.” Landing Boeing’s expansion from its Washington State headquarters was a coup for South Carolina, and Preston commended South Carolina governors and state lawmakers, and called by name Senator Thomas Alexander and Representative Bill Sandifer. The state lawmaker from Seneca, Sandifer told 101.7/WGOG NEWS the Boeing speakers made the impression on him of the importance of education to produce students who have the skills to work in advanced manufacturing. According to Sandifer, it’s something that the business community must continue to stress with educators. Boeing South Carolina relies on smart, well-educated workers, but jobs are available to the right high school graduates who display skills and are willing to further their education, the costs for which the company will pay.