COVID education aid money could pay for high-demand job training


DUNCAN – Governor Henry McMaster on Wednesday announced a new “pilot” workforce scholarship program to be launched at South Carolina’s 16 technical colleges.

The “Worforce Futures Scholarships” are designed to address the historic job crisis affecting employers in all sectors of the economy, according to the McMaster office.

The scholarships will be funded with $ 17 million in Federal Governor’s Emergency Relief (GEER) funds and will cover the tuition and fees required at any technical college in the state. In addition, McMaster is asking the South Carolina General Assembly to allocate $ 124 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to the South Carolina Technical College System.

“There are a lot of jobs out there, but the employees are scarce,” McMaster said at the press conference. “We’re going to put them back to work and put them back to work in high paying jobs. It’s a unique approach.”

“Today, we are investing in the people of South Carolina and providing them with the opportunity through the South Carolina Technical College System,” added Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the South Carolina Technical College System, which is the largest higher education sector in the state. .

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There are three technical colleges in the upstate region that could benefit from the program: Greenville Technical College, Spartanburg Community College, and Tri-County Community College.

Hardee said the manufacturing business in the upstate needed “qualified people to be their workforce for the future.”

“We will be able to tailor the program locally to different areas of the state based on demand,” added Hardee. “There is a need for expansion, but you cannot do it without having a skilled workforce.”

Sara Hazzard, chief executive officer of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, told the press conference that manufacturing accounts for nearly 12% of South Carolina’s workforce, including big names in the north. from the state such as Michelin, BMW and fiber optic companies.

Dr Keith Miller, President of Greenville Technical College.

“This program will help alleviate the financial barriers that stand in the way of an individual and a career,” said Hazzard.

Greenville Technical College President Dr Keith Miller said there is no doubt this program will benefit Greenville County.

“We have all the perfect programs and tools to deploy this and make it happen,” Miller said. “I regularly get calls from employers. There is a huge need in all areas. The demand is really in all areas right now.”

Who is eligible for scholarships?

Any adult or recent high school graduate in the state will be eligible until funds run out. To extend the duration of the workforce scholarship program, McMaster has requested an additional $ 124 million from lawmakers, which will allow the program to run from July 1, 2022 until June 30, 2024.

Fellows, who will total approximately 15,000 people, will be expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 and complete a of the following requirements:

  • Volunteer 100 hours in a non-profit or public service organization
  • Is employed
  • Take a financial literacy course offered at the technical college

What college programs can the funds be used for?

Scholarship funds can only be used for associate’s or industry degrees in high-demand careers such as manufacturing, healthcare, IT and information technology, distribution and logistics of transport or construction.

The following are examples of programs that would be targeted:

  • Agriculture and natural resources – Examples: forest management, horticulture, landscape planning and management, sustainable agriculture.
  • Architecture and Construction – Examples: architectural design, building construction, HVAC, plumbing, residential and commercial electrician
  • Arts and communication – Examples: graphic design, digital design and production, film production, media arts production.
  • Business, marketing and finance-Examples: accounting, administrative support, entrepreneurship.
  • Education and personal services-Examples: management of daycare services, special education, teacher training.
  • Health Sciences-Examples: emergency medical technician, nursing, medical laboratory technology, surgical technology.
  • Hospitality and tourism – Examples: culinary arts, hospitality and tourism management.
  • Information technologies-Examples: computer technology, cybersecurity, database development, network administration.
  • Law and Public Safety-Examples: criminal justice technology, fire science, paralegal, pre-academic police training.
  • Manufacturing-Examples: aeronautical and aeronautical maintenance, industrial maintenance, welding.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) – Examples: Computer Engineering Technology, Construction Engineering Technology, Civil Engineering, Graphics and Design.
  • Transportation and Logistics – Examples: driving commercial trucks, diesel maintenance and repair, logistics.

Earlier this year, McMaster awarded $ 12 million in GEER funds to the SC Technical College System to provide short-term training programs in critical areas of the workforce at no cost to the individual, according to the governor’s office. The funds are used to help cover tuition, fees, books and materials up to $ 5,000 per participant.

These short-term training programs last up to 12 weeks in critical areas of the workforce and individuals can earn an industry-recognized diploma or certificate in these areas. Approximately 5,000 people will have completed recycling programs by the end of the calendar year.

Currently, around 100,000 adults are taking continuing education courses at the 16 state technical colleges and 50,000 are taking credit courses. The Future Workforce Scholarship Program is expected to increase enrollment by 15,000.

“We’re going to double and triple and do better and add associate degrees,” McMaster said at the press conference. “We couldn’t do this if we didn’t have the best technical college system in the world. I don’t know of any place in the country that runs a program like this. Whenever we communicate and collaborate, Carolina South wins and I am convinced it will work.

Education and Family Journalist Krys Merryman can be reached at 864.420.7111 or [email protected] Continue the conversation or join a new one on our Education and Family Issues in Greenville Facebook page or on Twitter @krys_merryman.


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