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RCAM faces challenge of replacing boomers

November 23rd, 2013 5:53 pm by Hank Hayes

RCAM faces challenge of replacing boomers

Jeff McCord, left, and Jeff Frazier are working to train people in key manufacturing skills, such as robotics, to replace retiring baby boomers. Photo by Ned Jilton II.

KINGSPORT — Jeff Frazier and Jeff McCord are carrying the torch for work force development in a manufacturing town where expectations only get bigger.

 Their operations base is the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), a 26,000-square-foot hub in the downtown Academic Village combining classroom, online and hands-on instruction in advanced manufacturing skill areas.

 RCAM opened four years ago with about 150 students and now has grown to more than  400 students in college programs as of last spring. About 300 students have participated in non-credit courses and customized training programs.

After recently sharing RCAM’s accomplishments with the Kingsport Economic Development Board, both Frazier and McCord noted the heat is on them to replace retiring baby boomers at places like Domtar and Eastman Chemical Co.

“Companies are looking to replace boomers at the level of expertise they are losing,” said Frazier, RCAM’s dean. “We get that person in the game at the highest level we can.”

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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