Gaston College President John Hauser (front row, sixth from left) with Gaston College and Textile Technology Center Board members and project partners at the groundbreaking event for the Fiber Innovation Center.

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Gaston College President John Hauser (front row, sixth from left) with Gaston College and Textile Technology Center Board members and project partners at the groundbreaking event for the Fiber Innovation Center.

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Fiber Innovation Center at Gaston College’s TTC will meet industry’s growing needs

Posted October 27, 2021


BELMONT, N.C. – For close to 80 years, the Textile Technology Center (TTC) on Gaston College’s Kimbrell Campus in Belmont, N.C., has played a significant role in helping the North Carolina textile industry remain competitive, manufacture quality products and maintain a well-trained workforce.


With the construction of a new Fiber Innovation Center and the development of a Textile Academy, Gaston College and the regional textile industry will be even more strongly woven together.


A groundbreaking ceremony for the Fiber Innovation Center took place on the Kimbrell Campus on today. The Fiber Innovation Center, an expansion of the Kimbrell Campus, will provide a world-class facility to develop and test fibers for the advanced materials industry for use in proprietary products developed by national and international clients. Local and regional support from the textile industry is helping make this state-of-the-art project possible. 


A Textile Academy focused on addressing the workplace skills gap related to the textile industry will be launching at the Kimbrell campus soon as well. Local textile industry leaders partnered with Gaston College in designing the education and training programs that will best prepare students to meet workplace requirements.


“The input and suggestions from industry leaders who will benefit from the graduates of the academy was really important,” said Dr. John Hauser, president of Gaston College. “These leaders know the kind of training and experience their employees need, and we intend to provide it so our students will be ready to start their careers in textiles or to transfer to N.C. State University for a Bachelor of Science degree in textiles when they’ve completed the program.” 


The Textile Academy will be a seven-week training certificate course introducing students to the basic concepts of textile technology and careers within the textile industry. It will provide hands-on training in learning labs designed to mirror textile manufacturing environments and will be supported by the College’s Textile Technology Center and the Fiber Innovation Center.


“The initial design of the Textile Academy will include entry-level training to fill immediate employment vacancies,” said Sam Buff, vice president and general manager of the Manufacturing and Textile Innovation Network (MTIN). “We anticipate the development of additional levels of training for advanced knowledge and skills within the textile industry.”


The MTIN, a partnership between the Gaston College Textile Technology Center and Catawba Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC), will also be supporting the Textile Academy.


“One of MTIN’s objectives is to build a network of partners that work together to identify new opportunities, serve and assist our existing industries, as well as attract new industry to North Carolina,” said Robin Phillips-Hauser, director of Business Development for the Manufacturing Solutions Center.


MTIN is an organizational partner of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions, who recently received a Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program grant for the purpose of undertaking a multimillion dollar project in advanced textiles/autonomous wearables. The Textile Academy and Fiber Innovation Center will both play a role in how MTIN supports N.C. State IES efforts.


An information session and kick-off for the Textile Academy was held this morning followed by a luncheon at noon.


More information about the Fiber Innovation Center is at


Source: Gaston College

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