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Inside mechatronics and welding labs at the new Spartanburg Community College Union County Campus, students will prepare for advanced jobs while staying close to home.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday afternoon to celebrate the facility, SCC’s fifth campus in the Upstate. The campus, located along Highway 176 in Union, houses classrooms, computer labs, a mechatronics lab and welding lab to help students practice the skills needed for high-tech manufacturing jobs in the area.
“We now, however, have a permanent location in this community that we can establish roots; that we can provide the associate of applied science degree programs," said SCC President Henry Giles. "“We think it’ll be a major benefit to the people of Union."
Some general education courses also will be offered at the facility so students don't have to drive to Spartanburg.
The Union County adult education program is now offered at the campus, thanks to a partnership with the Union County School District.
The Union County School District will serve as the college's fiscal agent for the 2016-17 academic year. After that, SCC will take over financial operations.
Earl Petty, a welding student at SCC Union and a Union County High School graduate, said he was thankful he can take courses around his work schedule.
“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities on this campus,” he said.
State Rep. Mike Anthony, D-Union, echoed Petty, telling students of all ages in Union County to seek out what the SCC campus has to offer.
“The opportunities are here for our kids, for our grandkids,” he said. “Now, you have the opportunity, so let’s use it.”
Bob Hart, plant manager with Timken Co., donated $135,000 from the company’s foundation to help fund equipment at the labs. He said he’d like to be able to hire one or two students per year from the facility to keep skilled employees in Union County.
The convenience of the campus for students in Union is a major selling point, Giles said. He said students now can further their education without the long drive to Spartanburg.
Corey Johnson, a first year mechatronics student at SCC Union, said the facility gives him the chance to study for a better job in the future right in his own backyard.
“It has just about everything,” he said. “Now, we can just drive five minutes away to study instead of an hour or two hours in a day.”