Senator Lindsey Graham’s enthusiasm was as contagious as that of the 5000 employees on hand for the unveiling of the first made-in-South Carolina Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
“The weight of the world was on this workforce,” Graham told South Carolina Radio Network on the tarmac Friday.”If they had failed, if they had not succeeded,if it had been a flop, that would have been a death-blow to South Carolina recruitment for decades.
“It not only was a home run, it’s just wow’d everybody—under budget, ahead of schedule, the most sophisticated plane in the world,” Graham said.
This was achieved with intensive workforce training that stays on a round-the clock schedule even now.
Bill Weeks a Trident Technical College instructor for Boeing and readySC, was part of the original team of trainers which has been a unique relationship for Trident Tech and Boeing.
“To assemble a team of instructors and courses to train a company’s workers from outside the company, something that Boeing hasn’t done in the past has worked out very, very well.”
Just knowing that everybody out here, what they know, what they do in their job, I’ve been a part of their job, I’ve been able to help them do what they do every day. That makes me very proud,” added Weeks.
Weeks, who teaches workers how to seal parts together, said, “Lots and lots of classes we had to do, day and night, for six months, we were doing three shifts, 24 hours a day.
“Anything can be done, ” he laughed. “We’ve had people come in that have absolutely no background in aviation. I had one guy in my classes, the only thing he’d ever done in his life was deliver pizzas. And now he is out here building aircraft, so he’s extremely proud of what he knows now.”
Another employee at the 787 celebration shared that same scenario. Candy Espada helps construct the Dreamliner’s midsection. ”Aeronautical background? None. I had worked in manufacturing. Training was very thorough,’ she said.
Friday’s rollout proved something for workers like her, said Espada. “Look what we can do. We’re just as smart, just as strong. We can do it just as well as anyone else, if not better.”