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Benefits of Careers in Manufacturing




Dave Laton, Assistant Director for the Alabama Community College System and Pam Mashburn of Potential Magazine take time to share the benefits and rewards of careers in Automotive Manufacturing with WFSA-TV in Montogomery recently. Check out the video above to see what they have to say about manufacturing!



Check Out What it's Like to Work in Logistics


Speaker Uses Bicycle and Stories to Motivate Students 

Tom McNeal is not your “normal” speaker. Instead of a business suit, he sported gym pants, a long-sleeve t-shirt, tennis shoes and a bicycle helmet. Instead of a typical PowerPoint presentation, he used his bicycle to capture the attention of Gadsden State Community College students, who filled the East Broad Campus Auditorium to hear him speak on Jan. 27.

“To ensure that my messages sink in and are remembered, I utilize my bicycle riding as part of my presentation,” he said. “This is not a normal presentation…and that is a good thing!”

McNeal, a workforce development specialist for Alabama Power Co., was once the No. 2 professional trials bicycle rider in the U.S. and represented the country in the world championships. Trials bike riding requires the rider to maneuver, balance and jump in order to complete specially -designed artificial or natural “sections.” The objective is to pass through the sections with as little physical contact with the ground as possible. McNeal started his presentation on his bicycle, which he used to jump off the stage and land on the back wheel directly in front of a student.

“Sometimes there are obstacles in your way,” he said. “Overcome them. Something is going to be in your way as you strive to achieve your goals. I want to give you some tools to help you get through the obstacles.”

He encouraged the students to be their best and take risks.

“Learn and grow,” he said. “You are Alabama’s best resource. Take advantage of the education you are getting at Gadsden State. Take advantage of the resources and services that the College makes available to you. They want you to be successful. They want to build you up, so put Gadsden State on your team.”

McNeal said employers typically look for a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; work experience; and leadership experience.

“If you have these three achievements, you will have a great resume and companies will fight over you,” he said. “Do your best at Gadsden State so that you’re appealing to companies. Be sure to gain work experience in your field, whether it’s paid or unpaid. Be a leader in student organizations or your work groups or your community. You don’t have to worry about winning if you do your best and take risks.”

In addition, companies look for employees who can communicate effectively, work as part of a team, enjoy learning and make decisions that show dedication.

“At Southern Company, we live by what we call ‘Southern Style,’” he said. “Southern Style encompasses three guiding principles: unquestionable trust, total commitment and superior performance. The people we hire and those who remain employed with Southern Company live by these principles. You should live by these principles, too.”

McNeal was brought to Gadsden State by the Consortium for Alabama Regional Center for Automotive Manufacturing. CARCAM responds to rapid advanced manufacturing sector growth in Alabama by establishing and implementing innovative methods to develop a highly-skilled, diverse technical workforce and provide state-of-the-art professional development.




 Veterans Upward Bound 

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) is a pre-college program designed to motivate and assist veterans in developing academic and other requisite skills necessary to successfully enroll in and complete a postsecondary education program.

For more information, check out the Veterans Upward Bound website!



Not sure what to do on an interview? Don’t sweat it! With these professional insights you’ll gain the confidence you need and learn the proper etiquette to help you seal the deal.

Before the interview:


Have additional information on hand—don’t just rely on your résumé to sell yourself. Think of yourself as a salesperson—and the product is you. It's best to have a list of important points about yourself prepared ahead of time that you want to communicate. Most interviewers will ask if you have any additional information you'd like to share. Take a moment to review your mental checklist and make any points that were missed.


Know its products, top executives, growth pattern, recent financial performance, and its strengths and weaknesses.


Before you get to the interview, know what the employer is looking for. While you need to be yourself, you must also present yourself as that employer's ideal candidate by showing how your skills match up with their needs. Clearly communicate your ideas, listen, and generate enthusiasm, that’s what gets you the job.


In the engineering and advanced manufacturing industry, conservative, professional attire is appropriate.

During the interview:


Be punctual—not too early (15 minutes is too early), and definitely don’t be late. Be self-confident, use a firm handshake, and be friendly, but not bubbly.


Prepare yourself by thinking through these most commonly asked questions:

  • Why are you interested in us?
  • What are your long and short-term career goals?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • How do you see yourself fitting into this company?
  • What does success mean to you?

Be sure to listen closely to the questions being asked. Nothing turns off an interviewer more than when you provide an answer that doesn't fit the question. Remember—interviewers are assessing your listening and communication skills, as much as they are listening to the specific answers.


Your interest in the company and position shows you’re taking this opportunity seriously. Here are some things you may want to know:

  • What opportunities are there for advancement?
  • How would you describe a typical day?
  • What skills and qualities are the most important to succeed in this job?
  • How would I be supervised?

Many interviewers appear very friendly and easy-going. Don’t let that trick you into rambling, giving more information than asked for, or revealing too much about your personal life. Stick to answering the questions at hand. Avoid any discussions regarding “charged” topics like politics or religion.


Emphasize your strengths and achievements, using specific examples from previous jobs, volunteer work, and classroom experiences whenever you can. Don't forget to maintain good eye contact. Success is in your attitude!


While the employer will usually bring up this topic, don’t press for details during your first interview. Talk about opportunity, not security. Now is not the time to ask about vacation time, sick leave, or other benefits. But if the employer brings up salary, you should be prepared. Know your worth! Asking for too much or too little may cost you the job offer.


The interviewer will close the interview when he/she has enough information about you. Don’t attempt to extend it, unless one of your important qualifications has not been discussed. Then ask to make one more point, but make it brief.


After the interview:


Send a note thanking the interviewer for his/her time and expressing your interest in the job. In your letter, be sure to point out that opportunity—not security—is important to you. Also summarize key points of the interview and add further information to help “prove” your case





CARCAM Mission: 

CARCAM responds to rapid advanced manufacturing sector growth by establishing and implementing innovative methods to develop a highly-skilled, diverse technical workforce and provide state-of-the-art professional development.

Who Are We?

The CARCAM consortium is one of 42 regional National Science Foundation ATE Center’s. We are educating today’s workforce in cutting–edge technology. Our curriculum is specifically designed and developed with input from business and industry and implemented in today’s highly advanced technical manufacturing industry. 


With the skills learned at CARCAM colleges, Students are ready for today's top manufacturing technology careers.



STEM/Robotics Camp Best Practices Guide 2016






CGA Best Practices Guide


 Curriculum Review Process Guide