South Carolina’s readySC™ program is committed to helping international companies succeed and thrive in our state. For China Jushi Co., Ltd., this meant preparing new hires for extended overseas training.
China Jushi Co., Ltd. (Jushi), global manufacturer and promoter of fiberglass products, announced plans in 2016 to open its first North American manufacturing facility in Columbia, South Carolina. This announcement signified a $300 million investment and over 400 new jobs during the company’s first phase of production. When finished, the 80,000-ton Jushi production line would be the largest manufacturing facility in Richland County and one of the largest in the state, rivaling even the Boeing facility in North Charleston.
As construction of the site began in earnest, readySC representatives met with Jushi to strategize the best way to recruit and train its workforce. South Carolina has a long, storied history with textiles, but working with heated glass is a unique process that requires several weeks of hands-on training. Since Jushi has no equivalent site in North America, the fiberglass manufacturing facility in Tongxiang, China, was chosen as the training site. As a result, job candidates had to be willing to travel outside of the country and stay for extended periods of time to complete their training.
Jushi decided that the first employees to go to China would become the team leads at the South Carolina facility and help other trainees learn the process. To prepare them for this experience, readySC developed customized train-the-trainer modules to ensure trainees got the most out of their time in China. Part of this preparation included coaching each team leader to keep a training journal which would then be used to help develop materials to teach other new hires in the future.
The readySC team also helped employees get ready for a deep immersion into another culture, where the food, language and even traffic is different. In addition, many of the trainees had never been on a plane, much less traveled outside of the United States, and the idea of an extended stay in another country seemed daunting. So readySC developed and delivered cultural awareness courses that helped build a comfort level with the practical issues of international travel.
After the first group arrived in China, a readySC video team followed a week later to film footage of the work environment and to interview trainees about their first-hand experiences at the Tongxiang facility. Trainees were encouraged to share challenges and solutions so subsequent new employees would have realistic expectations of the trip. Topics covered practical suggestions like how to use technology to communicate with those who speak another language and how to work with interpreters during hands-on training.
The trainees gave first-hand advice on how to deal with cultural differences while also pointing out commonalities they shared with their Tongxiang counterparts, such as pride in their work and a willingness to help each other succeed. “ As one trainee said of his journey, “It’s an experience that you’ll never forget. There’s nothing like it in the world.”
In the six months since the first group traveled to China, readySC has trained more than 560 Jushi employees and conducted 20 pre-hire and 104 post-hire classes. Topics covered include safety, communication, teamwork, lean manufacturing, 5S, OSHA 10, conflict resolution and front-line supervisor skills.
Ray Wierzbowski, vice president of operations for Jushi USA, shared his appreciation for readySC’s continued assistance. “Their team is extremely knowledgeable and provided extraordinary support in recruiting, hiring, and training,” he said. “They worked closely with us to develop and deliver a custom solution for our needs.”
“We are thankful to the entire team at readySC for all their support and guidance throughout this process,” added Wierzbowski. “They supported us from start to finish on the recruiting, hiring, and training of over 500 employees as we built our facility. We could not have been successful without their support.”
China Jushi Co., Ltd., a global manufacturer and promoter of fiberglass products, is establishing its first US fiberglass manufacturing operations with an 80,000-ton production line in Richland County. The first phase of the project is expected to bring $300 million in capital investment and create 400 new jobs.
Headquartered in Zhejiang, China, China Jushi is a leading supplier of fiberglass reinforcements and fabrics to the reinforced plastics industry worldwide. With more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. market, Jushi already has a strong brand influence in American markets. The new production line in the Pineview Industrial Park in Columbia, SC, is designed to supplement the growing composite material industry in the United States.