Due to the current health concerns related to Covid-19, as an alternative to what would have been the 3rd year of the eSTEAM Sumter Festival, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance hosted the eSTEAM Road Show. While the eSTEAM Sumter Festival focuses on advancements in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), many people are not aware that it was also created to celebrate National Manufacturing Day, which is always the first Friday of October. National Manufacturing Day celebrates and acknowledges manufacturing along with advancements in the industrial sector. Manufacturing continues to be one of the leading sectors of the economy in the Sumter region, South Carolina and nationally where the average wage for a manufacturing job is $54,000.

In an effort to build awareness of the significance of modern manufacturing, and with the eSTEAM Sumter Festival having been cancelled, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance seized on an innovative way to interact directly with those members of our community who make modern manufacturing happen on a daily basis. During the week of September 28th-October 2nd, TheLINK Crew and STEAMER, the festival mascot, hit the road in a florescent yellow convertible to meet and greet manufacturers in Sumter and Lee Counties for the eSTEAM Road Show. Along for the ride, the team brought games related to both STEAM and community awareness trivia and offered similar contests through a variety of social media platforms. The eSTEAM Road Show visited several businesses in both Lee and Sumter counties along with the Pee Dee Math, Science, and Technology Academy in Bishopville where they met with parents, kids and community members ready to spin the wheel for an opportunity to win prizes or complete physical challenges with Steamer. As a unique way of saying “Thanks for Making Us Cool” the eSTEAM Road Show provided ice cream treats to employees of some of the local manufacturers. “Providing our manufacturers with ice cream is a very small token of our appreciation for the big job they do for our community”, commented Brian Rauschenbach, Project and Existing Industry Manager for TheLINK Economic Development Alliance, “Although the connection isn’t always made, industrial development ultimately leads to commercial development. Retail and restaurants follow a strong industrial portfolio.”

As TheLINK looks to host the eSTEAM Sumter Festival again next year, the hope is that this year’s eSTEAM Road Show has continued to foster a greater understanding that Boosting Your eSTEAM shows not only the significance of Manufacturing but also how STEAM curriculum continues to support and to enable our manufacturers successful right HERE.