The Feb. 7 Business section examined South Carolina in the context of “manufacturing hiccups” being experienced nationwide. It pointed out that advanced manufacturing is looking elsewhere for siting since Charleston appears to have “dried up its talent pool pipeline.” But it said that local business leaders are committed to supporting job training so that Charleston can take its place in the job market.

Two obstacles are a lack of affordable housing and a need for adequate schools with purpose driven education.

Housing needs can be addressed by ending NIMBY opposition and incentivizing affordable home construction.

To meet education needs will require looking to alternative education choices. We can no longer hide behind excuses like class disadvantages, building problems and parent support.

Some kids learn differently. Learning by rote or teaching to the test doesn’t work for them. They respond to hands-on, visual learning. Their success-motivated physical accomplishment aptitudes are waiting to be turned on.

High-tech production is waiting for a local pool of skilled workers. The wave of migrating workers will end if housing and livability disappear; but the offspring of those genetically wired, skilled workers will fit right into high schools, ReadySC and technical colleges if something in middle school turns on their genetic talents. These kids won’t need to be convinced that advanced manufacturing is “cool.”

Just such a light bulb has been turned on by the Lowcountry Maritime Society, a Charleston-based 501(c)(3) organization that is best known for its science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) based after-school and in-school programs. LMS teaches middle school students STEAM skills as they build 12-foot wooden boats.

Through this hands-on program, LMS also teaches students about the significance of boat building in relation to our region’s history and culture. The results have been very positive.

The boat building program has become a favorite among students, teachers and administrators at Charles Pinckney Middle School and Sanders Clyde Elementary. James Simons Elementary will start in the fall.

Come to Brittlebank Park April 30 to see STEAM students launch the boats they have built in the past two semesters at the Second Annual Spring Boat Launch. For more information on LMS, you can visit the website: www.LowcountryMaritime.org.

Rick Reed

Lenwood Boulevard

Charleston

Prentice Brower III

Montagu Street

Charleston