Manufacturing is a robust and vital sector of North Carolina’s business community. In fact, manufacturing is North Carolina’s largest employer industry and contributor to GDP. As the exclusive state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers, the North Carolina Chamber is proud to represent and advocate for our state’s manufacturers, who serve as the engine of technology development and innovation in North Carolina! In its new “Made in NC: Spotlight on Manufacturing” article series, the NC Chamber will highlight North Carolina manufacturers that are strengthening North Carolina through innovation, workforce development, community involvement and diverse career opportunities. In the inaugural manufacturing spotlight, we take a look at Caterpillar. Read Caterpillar’s story below and learn how they are investing in the future through apprenticeship programs and giving back to the community.
Made in NC: Spotlight on Caterpillar Inc.
For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Caterpillar’s customers turn to them to help develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2013 sales and revenues of $55.656 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. What makes Caterpillar unique, though, is its culture and the 120,000 employees who have nurtured and grown this legacy throughout the world. The Caterpillar forefathers had a vision to create a world-class distribution network to ensure machine reliability, productivity, durability and best overall value over the life of its product. Let’s take a look at how this vision has become a reality and what Caterpillar is doing to accelerate North Carolina and secure its future.
Accelerating North Carolina.
North Carolina is home to more than 2,000 Caterpillar employees. With nine locations across the state, including the global administrative headquarters of the Building Construction Products Division, Caterpillar products built in North Carolina compete with products from other companies that are produced in many different parts of the world. In North Carolina, Caterpillar manufactures small wheel loaders, skid steer loaders, multi terrain loaders and compact track loaders. Caterpillar also manufactures product components, including axles, engine components, seals and fuel hose assemblies. For Caterpillar to compete globally, North Carolina must be a globally competitive state for manufacturers to do business.
So why North Carolina? For one, North Carolina is well positioned to major East Coast North American markets and has good proximity to several ports allowing them to ship to overseas market efficiently. Proximity to market and efficient transportation is critical for timely delivery of products. It’s also about the people. Capable employees are critical to delivering product and service differentiation, starting with initial product quality from the Caterpillar facilities. North Carolina’s broad and diverse workforce combined with a strong university and technical college system has supported Caterpillar’s people needs.
Securing the Future.
To carry its values-based, customer-focused legacy into the next generation, Caterpillar knows it needs to invest in the future. They are doing just that in North Carolina.
Caterpillar partners with local high schools to recruit and help students develop their technical skills for a career in manufacturing. In Sanford and Clayton, Caterpillar has implemented apprenticeship programs for high school students in the region. Students in these programs are able to study manufacturing-related coursework in the classroom, along with hands-on training at the local community college. Students are then able to work and train on-site at the Caterpillar facility, where they gain real-world interviewing experience as they prepare to enter the workforce. The apprenticeship programs allow students to earn credit hours and apprenticeship certification upon completion. This real-world training equips North Carolina students with the skills and knowledge needed to be a part of a globally competitive workforce.
In addition to securing the future through apprenticeships, at every Caterpillar facility, the company and its employees are actively engaged in improving the communities in which they live, work and play. This includes financial support, volunteer efforts and taking on leadership roles within many various organizations. In 2012, the Caterpillar Foundation and Caterpillar employees contributed more than $1 million to nonprofit organizations. In North Carolina, Caterpillar works closely with the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County and the North Carolina New Schools initiative to ensure they are preparing the talent of the future.
As the state manufacturing association, the North Carolina Chamber commends Caterpillar’s commitment to our state and its future. Through its community involvement and investment in education, Caterpillar has proven to be an exemplary corporate citizen and an integral part of North Carolina’s manufacturing community. We are proud to say that Caterpillar is Made in NC!
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber