At the Siemens Energy plant in Charlotte, employees make advanced power generating equipment like massive gas and steam turbines. It's not something just anybody knows how to do - which became a bit of a problem when Siemens decided to double the size of its Charlotte operations.
"It was quite daunting when we knew we had to add 750 people here," says Director of Operations Mark Pringle, "but now that we've done it and we look back, it's because of this great partnership we had in Charlotte."
Pringle and the rest of his executive team didn't sit back and complain about the lack of trained workers available to them here. Instead, they figured out how to solve the problem.
"As I tell everybody," Pringle says, "there's not a shortage of good people with good foundation skills…those people just don't have the tools to become instantly productive, so I think you've got to build it into your plan that I'm going to bring them in early and train them."
Siemens worked to gain unique access to local classrooms, and sent workers there.
"I can't say enough about Central Piedmont Community College and their willingness to just sit down and custom design what you need," Pringle says.
Now, a lot of schools are interested in creating curriculum with companies.
"It is extremely vital, particularly in today's environment," says Terry Ratcliff of NC State University.
And now, more companies are also starting to agree. On Tuesday, a group of manufacturers met at Siemens for a NC State University Manufacturing Makes It Real Network event, where they talked about the industry and learned how Pringle and his crew managed to grow a thriving workforce in under a year.
Ron Powell is with MorOil Corporation in Concord. "It's a great partnership for these companies to come in and help the schools understand - give them specifics of what they need," he said.
And Patrick Noone is with Woelco Labeling Solutions in Mooresville.
"It's very encouraging to see how Siemens is taking a leadership role," he said.
Encouraging and apparently inspiring. Noone just hired Alexandre Grondin.
"I'm doing inside sales and also do supply chain management," Grondin told WBTV, adding that he's getting full training on the job.
"It's all new to me," Grondin says, "and it's been great."