Spartanburg Community College, in partnership with Wells Fargo, the RBC Heritage Classic Foundation and numerous local and statewide partners, launched an educational initiative today in hopes of prompting students to think about their future careers and what education is needed for those jobs.
At a news conference held today on SCC's central campus in Spartanburg, college, business and state leaders unveiled a video entitled "Aligning for Success," which will be shown to students in schools throughout Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties, and is available statewide at www.aligningforsuccess.com. Printed collateral materials will also be available to guidance counselors in local schools.
S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said, "South Carolina has done a tremendous job bringing business and industry to our state, but we are still finding that we need to do more to inform students, parents and educators about these exciting career opportunities. I commend the work of Spartanburg Community College and their partners in helping to create pathways to careers for all our students."
In September 2014, a workforce study led by Spartanburg Community College found that Upstate manufacturers are struggling to fill open positions, a challenge that is likely to increase as aging employees retire. An estimated 1,500 people will be needed each year to fill the jobs vacated by retirees in the Upstate, and that doesn't factor in expansion by existing companies. All of the companies surveyed reported having difficulty filling vacancies.
The Aligning for Success educational initiative is designed to prompt students to think about their future careers and to align their educational paths with those goals. This process can help lead students into fulfilling careers, while also preventing "grey-collar" jobs - or having a degree that is not needed for the position you hold.
"Good jobs with good pay are available for those who have the training and skills needed by employers, but there is a huge disconnect for students when it comes to looking inward to match their interests with abilities and aligning both with in-demand skills and jobs," explained SCC President Henry C. Giles, Jr., "In talking with our many community partners, we found this 'disconnect' is what often times keeps students from excelling in college and ensuing careers."
Giles added, "There has never been a better time for students to continue their education after high school graduation and seek an education, training in something they enjoy. Our hope is that the 'Aligning for Success' educational initiative will bridge the gap and help students understand what they must do to find and keep a job, one that will financially support them and their families now and in the future."
Community leaders attending shared praises for the new initiative and agreed it will impact not only Upstate students, but also high school students across South Carolina. Sam Hook, SCC's executive director of advancement and the SCC Foundation, said, "Without the support of the community partners, the initiative would not have happened. We had a great team that came together and worked tirelessly to develop an effective and meaningful tool that can be used by students, educators and parents alike."
Partners involved in developing the initiative included the SCOIS (SC Career Information System), Upstate Workforce Investment Board, The Spartanburg County Foundation, SC Works Upstate, South Carolina Department of Commerce and counselors from Spartanburg County School Districts. Funding partners for the initiative included Wells Fargo Bank and the RBC Heritage Golf Classic Foundation.
Brian Rogers, business banking manager with Wells Fargo, explained the bank actively supports the revitalization and growth of the economy through community donations to nonprofit organizations and schools across South Carolina. "This initiative is the perfect alignment with our corporate vision, and we are happy to partner with Spartanburg Community College."
Doug Smith, trustee with The RBC Heritage Golf Classic Foundation, presented SCC President Giles with a $20,000 check and said the Aligning for Success initiative is exactly the kind of effort their charitable contributions should fund - an educational initiative that will better educate the children of our state. "Yes, we run a very successful golf tournament, but the funds we raise are given to worthy charitable causes throughout the state of South Carolina," he explained. "We are dedicated to improving lives and helping those in need."
Speaking on behalf of all Spartanburg County superintendents, Dr. Russell W. Booker, superintendent of Spartanburg County School District 7, thanked SCC for adding "another tool to our students' tool kit."
Rep. Rita Allison, who represents House District 36, added, "It is so important that students throughout South Carolina have the same opportunities as our children in Spartanburg County. As the chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee, I travel all across the state and I'm very much aware of the challenges facing our children and families. We need to improve the quality of life for all, and the 'Aligning for Success" initiative will do just that by focusing on education."
Photos are available for download via Flickr
For more information visit www.aligningforsuccess.com.