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King & Prince Seafood, Coastal Pines Sign Partnership

June 27, 2019 07:40 AM
KP_Seafood
King & Prince Seafood sign partnership with Coastal Pines.
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  • Published by Lauren McDonald @ The Brunswick News
    lmcdonald@thebrunswicknews.com   
                                                                           

King & Prince Seafood signed a partnership Wednesday with Coastal Pines Technical College that will incentivize employees at the local seafood company to pursue education opportunities at the college.

The goal of the new program is to encourage King & Prince Seafood employees to take advantage of local opportunities to advance their skills. The company will reimburse their tuition costs at Coastal Pines.

“We believe in continuous development of our workforce, whether it’s on the job training or it is individuals going back to school and finishing another degree or picking up technical expertise,” said Michael Alexander, CEO of King & Prince Seafood, after the signing at the Brunswick plant Wednesday. The company will educate its employees about this opportunity to study at Coastal Pines.

“Especially right now, with unemployment as low as it is, employers don’t have a lot of options, and one of the options is to skill up from within,” said Pete Snell, vice president for economic development at Coastal Pines. “And that’s what they’re trying to promote here, is the skill up from within. Trying to find folks out there with all these skills is hard to do right now.”

Snell said he hopes to see other local employers follow King & Prince Seafood’s lead. The company also recently signed a similar partnership with College of Coastal Georgia.

“Equipment and technology’s constantly changing, so you’ve got to keep sending people back to upgrade those skills, to be able to use the newest and latest technology in manufacturing,” said Glenn Deibert, president of Coastal Pines Technical College.

Before the signing, Deibert told a group of King & Prince Seafood employees that Coastal Pines has undergone expansions in the last several years that aim to meet ongoing workforce development needs in this area.

“It hasn’t been long we’ve been serving this area, but in 2015 we opened our first building here in Glynn County, our first campus, over near the airport,” Deibert told the group. “We’re now building close, in Camden County, a new campus there.”

Coastal Pines has also proposed the construction of a 93,000-square-foot building in Brunswick, Deibert said, but those plans won’t come to fruition for several more years.

Coastal Pines has seen significant enrollment growth across its 13 counties. In the most recent spring semester, about 3,870 students were enrolled, Deibert said. Just a couple years ago, less than 2,000 students were enrolled.

The partnership between the college and King & Prince Seafood is one of many local efforts to build up and improve the local manufacturing industry workforce. Leaders of local manufacturing companies often lament the lack of awareness about career opportunities in the industry, especially among high school students and young adults.

Several local manufacturing companies partnered at the start of this year with Coastal Pines and the Golden Isles College and Career Academy to offer a new industrial systems dual enrollment opportunity for high school students. The program is free for students.

“It doesn’t cost them or the parents anything,” Deibert said. “Tuition and fees and books, all 100 percent covered, so it’s zero cost to the high school students.”

These kinds of partnerships help ensure this area has a continuously growing skilled workforce, Deibert said.

“The more trained, or the better trained, you can have employees, the better it helps the local companies,” he said. “And it helps employees themselves. So this is just a great partnership to try to increase those opportunities for the employees here.”

KP_Seafood
Pictured: King & Prince Seafood CEO Michael Alexander (L), and CPTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert (R).

 

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