Greenfield Industries, Inc. can trace its long and successful history in South Carolina to 1961 and the construction of the Imperial Drills Company manufacturing site in Seneca. The company evolved over the years into Greenfield Industries, and in 2009 became part of the Top-Eastern Group (TDC), the world’s largest manufacturer of twist drills. Building on this enduring success, TDC recently established its overseas headquarters in Seneca to manage all its operations outside of China.
To prepare for the company’s future growth, Greenfield has established a youth apprenticeship program to help train its next generation of productive employees. Ty Taylor, president of Greenfield Industries, sees this as a way to enlighten high school students to career opportunities in the manufacturing field. “This program lets us bring young people into manufacturing. Through their experience at Greenfield, they can see the opportunity that manufacturing offers and gain experience that we hope benefits them through their lives.”
Anthony Tosti, CFO Greenfield Industries, Inc. / TDC Overseas Operations, explains how apprenticeship was established at Greenfield. “The programs started in 2014 when Apprenticeship Carolina™ approached Greenfield. These qualified apprentice programs are in-line with our philosophy and the spirit of our owner Jeff Chee. We work closely with Apprenticeship Carolina, Tri-County Technical College and the Hamilton Career Center to define a program to fit our needs while providing the associates who joined our program the opportunity to gain certification and skills while making money doing it. Grants have been used to partially defray educational costs incurred by the apprentices.”
South Carolina offers tax credits to companies for each registered apprentice, and the South Carolina Apprenticeship Initiative (SCAI) grant provides the funds to help offset training costs associated with respective apprenticeship programs. But the most prized component of apprenticeship is the creation of a trained workforce.
Susan Miller, leader of the Greenfield Apprentice Program, says, “The tax credit and SCAI grant are excellent incentives, but the most beneficial outcome is the development of the student. We gain a productive employee as they progress in their skills.”
Miller says that Greenfield’s partnership with Tri-County Tech and Oconee County’s Hamilton Career Center is key to training the students. “They are preparing the students for jobs in our plant. The students have a basic foundation when they leave the career center. Our apprenticeship coordinator works closely with the instructor at Hamilton Career Center on the selection and development of the students.”
Ty Taylor believes that apprenticeship is invaluable to both the student and company. “The youth apprenticeship program creates a win-win situation. It brings the student and the company experience that lets each develop and grow personally and professionally, hopefully giving a young person the experience to have a career in manufacturing. The student, Greenfield and community all win with this program.”
For other companies considering youth apprenticeship, Taylor says, “Take a chance on our youth and see how it can make you and your business better.” He also adds that he appreciates South Carolina’s investment in apprenticeship. “I would encourage the state to continue to support this program and reward the students and companies that participate.”
Greenfield Industries, Inc. manufactures and sells branded and private label cutting tools to the industrial and consumer markets in North America. It is owned by TDC Cutting Tools, the world’s largest manufacturer of high speed steel cutting tools. Greenfield employs over 320 at the Seneca site, where it produces HSS industrial drill bits, taps, dies and carbide end mills.
TDC has manufacturing and/or sales locations in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. Greenfield and its predecessors pioneered the cutting tool industry in the U.S. in 1834. Brands owned by Greenfield such as Cleveland, Chicago-Latrobe, Cle-Line, Greenfield Threading and Bassett are household names in the cutting tool industry with a long history and tradition of quality.