Sandvik Coromant has been named Education Business Partner of the Year by the SC Association for Career and Technical Education.  Sandvik is a Swedish tool making company with a plant Greer.

Sandvik was nominated for the award by administrators at J. Harley Bonds Career Center. In a written nomination they said, “the management team at Sandvik has dedicated countless hours and valuable resources to growing our partnership. Our students are benefitting now, but the impact of what Sandvik is doing will stretch far into the future for the entire community.”

Kyle Hughes is the Change Leader at Sandvik. He is a graduate of Riverside High and Bonds Career Center. In response to the award Hughes said, “Sandvik globally our vision is shaping the future together. I think this company really believes in that and gives us the opportunity to go out in the community and be able to bring in prospects to shape our workforce for the future.”

Sandvik has hosted three Bonds Career Center interns through the LaunchGVL partnership with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce this school year. Machine Tool and Mechatronics students have not only earned a paycheck from this international company. They have also gained priceless experience and the possibility for full-time employment and college tuition reimbursement. In return, Hughes reports our students have made significant contributions to the plant, and Sandvik is now working to establish a registered apprenticeship to offer more opportunities for our students to contribute.

Spencer Reynolds and David Riddle are former interns who graduated from Greenville County Schools in 2019 and now have full time employment and college tuition reimbursement from Sandvik. “In the time I have been here I have seen five high schoolers get brought on which is pretty crazy. Right now I am here full time and will work here through college and hopefully further on,” Riddle said. Reynolds also hopes his employment with Sandvik is permanent. “It could go on forever and ever,” he said, “maybe one day I could be a manager.”

Sandvik employees serve on Advisory Committees for Machine Tool and Mechatronics as well as the School Improvement Council. The company has donated tools and plans to donate safety glasses and possibly tool kits Machine Tool students have to purchase. This contribution is priceless, because it eliminates the financial barrier of entry for students whose families might not be able to afford the cost and opens up a world of opportunity for under-resourced students.

Sandvik leaders spent hours at Open House talking to prospective students and parents about jobs that are available to students in our programs. Kyle Hughes has helped connect those dots at a School Improvement Council meeting at Riverside High. The company hosted a round of The Amazing Shake soft skills competition and an SIC meeting for a feeder elementary school. Seeing the manufacturing floor was eye-opening to teachers who made connections from their lessons to real jobs. Sandvik is planning a project with that school to show the manufacturing process from design to finished product using a real tool design, TinkerCAD, and 3D printers.

“Sandvik’s forward-thinking, community-minded approach to business will help close the skills gap and create a robust, innovative workforce pipeline for the Upstate. The partnership we are building can serve as a model for what happens when educators and business leaders work together for change. The team we are building is solving problems in the Upstate right now, but it could also light the way to a brighter future for our students, create more opportunity for industry, and ultimately make our entire community stronger.”

Mike Hickey, Sandvik Production Manager and Kyle Hughes, Sandvik Change Leader accept award
Hickey and Hughes pose with J. Harley Bonds Career Center Director Mike Parris
Former interns and current employees David Riddle (Eastside High class of 2019) and Spencer Reynolds (Greer High class of 2019)