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Boot camp focuses on work force development
Mark Preston, president and CEO of Lean Applications in Peachtree City, speaks with business representatives Monday during the 2014 Manufacturers Boot Camp at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center. - photo by Micah Green

FORSYTH COUNTY — About 30 representatives of different manufacturing businesses from the Forsyth County area spent Monday in boot camp.

While they didn’t run laps or do push-ups, the business people did get some in-depth training on various topics related to their industry.

“I learned some things here today that I hadn’t learned before,” said Tom Bosko, plant manager for Trox USA, which has a site in north Forsyth.

“I’ve learned a little bit from [all the presentations], so it definitely was a good use of my day.”

The event was presented by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s Manufacturing Society, which began about a year ago in support of Forsyth’s manufacturing sector.

Randall Toussaint, the chamber’s vice president of economic development, said manufacturing is one of the county’s primary areas of focus.

“Forsyth County is home to over 300 manufacturing companies,” Toussaint said. “It’s one of our fastest growing industry sectors.

“One of the things we’ve really placed a focus on this year, especially through our Business First Campaign, is creating more resources to support the existing manufacturing firms that reside in the community.”

As part of those efforts, Toussaint said a survey was sent to the various manufacturing companies in the county to see what areas of focus would be most helpful to the businesses. 

The top request was a need for more work force development resources, Toussaint said.

“As more jobs start coming back to the United States in the manufacturing sector, away from the Southeast market, especially away from China, we’re recognizing that there is a need to develop more training resources and training capacities,” Toussaint said.

As a result, representatives of Lanier Technical College and the Georgia Department of Labor served as guest speakers Monday.

Other topics addressed in the boot camp were tax credits with company expansions, presented by representatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and occupational safety issues presented by Fisher & Phillips LLP.

“[Fisher & Phillips] were gracious enough to allow their partners to come and deliver an overview of the top OSHA issues that every manufacturer should be aware of,” Toussaint said.

The event’s closing speaker was Mark Preston, an expert on “lean manufacturing,” which involves reducing waste to make processes more efficient.

“We were very lucky to have Mark come and bring everything together,” said Toussaint, noting that topics he addressed were ranked highly on the manufacturing survey.