Bluestar Silicones began operations in 2012 in the East York Industrial Park, developed by YEC. An Elkem company, Bluestar Silicones is one of the world’s leading fully integrated silicone operators, with more than 60 years of experience and $575 million in sales globally. About 115 of its 160 employees work at the York site, with many from the local area. Operations Director David Beaty notes, “It took us a good three years to get the right workforce.”
To accomplish that goal, Bluestar Silicones takes advantage of two programs of the S.C. Technical College System, ReadySC and Apprenticeship Carolina, which prepare South Carolina workers to meet the needs of companies locating here. Another asset is the Manufacturing Excellence program at York Comprehensive High School’s Technology Center. Production Manager Al Chatham notes, “The professionalism of the program has improved by leaps and bounds. We’re optimistic that this is starting to take hold, and students are considering us as an employment option.”
Bluestar Silicones hired two local students as interns through the program, while MacLean Power Systems and Arvin-Meritor York got one each. If they work out, Bluestar’s hires will advance to the apprenticeship program, Chatham notes.
York County Economic Development Director David Swenson says many manufacturing companies in the area partner with York Technical College, Apprenticeship Carolina, ReadySC, and the local school system in order to train existing workers and secure new employees. “Working together, the workforce wins, the companies win and the community wins. This is what makes our area successful,” Swenson says.