SALISBURY, N.C. – When Adam Foley was laid off after almost a decade of working in retail, he began looking for a more stable career and found the answer in the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program offered at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in partnership with the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute (NCMI).

“It had just gotten to the point where I needed something different,” said Foley, who is now employed with the manufacturing team at Boral, a Salisbury company that makes composite siding for construction.

Adam FoleyGraduates with little to no manufacturing experience can become career-ready manufacturing professionals through the eight-week training program, which comes at no cost to the student thanks to scholarships provided by local employers. Students can earn the industry-recognized Certified Production Technician designation from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, along with Career Readiness Certifications. The CPT curriculum covers safety, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing and production processes, and maintenance awareness.

Foley not only learned new skills and discovered new interests during the Certified Production Technician program, but was inspired to take his education further and is now pursuing an associate degree in mechatronics at Rowan-Cabarrus, with tuition reimbursement assistance from Boral.

“It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself,” Foley said of enrolling in the CPT course. “It doesn’t just give you a start at a job; it gives you a start at a career. I can almost guarantee that you’ll find your fit. You’ll have a foot in the door at just about any manufacturing facility you can think of. If you don’t find something that piques your interest at one place, there are about six or seven other options.”

Even people who have never considered manufacturing as a career option or those with no experience in the field can find success, according to Craig Lamb, vice president of corporate and continuing education at Rowan-Cabarrus.

“This program is for anyone who wants a quality full-time job with full benefits,” Lamb said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is; it matters what you want your future to be.”

“Individuals train 20 hours per week for a total of eight weeks,” Lamb said. “Upon completion, they are qualified for 90 percent of manufacturing jobs in our area.”

The North Carolina Manufacturing Institute is a partnership that includes leaders from the Rowan and Cabarrus chambers of commerce and economic development authorities, the Centralina Workforce Development Board, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Mitchell Community College. Its goal is to build a clear, achievable path to local manufacturing jobs and help to close the gap between job seekers and available positions.

“Manufacturing is a leading industry and a major contributor to the success of our area’s strong economy,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “There are thousands of local manufacturing jobs that offer good salaries and benefits. We are proud to partner with the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute to provide opportunities that change the lives of graduates and their families.”

The next eight-week training program begins September 28, with morning and evening classes available. For more information, call 1-866-418-9257, contact Donna Ludwig at, or complete the interest form at