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Capitalizing on the growth of the city’s downtown, Spartanburg Community College has moved its business school to its downtown campus.
The move, which took effect in January, seeks to take advantage of growing business and job opportunities not only in downtown Spartanburg, but across the county. Located on the second floor of the SCC Downtown Campus, the business school features new classrooms and a simulated office to give students the feel of being in the workplace.
Renee Trammell, department chair of the SCC School of Business, said the move will further partnerships the college had with businesses and nonprofits in Spartanburg.
“Hey, we’re in the middle of the heart of Spartanburg, that’s what I’m telling people. It’s a very exciting time to be here,” Trammell said.
An official unveiling featuring local business and community leaders is set for next month. The school is hosting business-related talks and “appy hour” programs that Trammell started to create more interaction between business representatives and SCC students.
“I really like the downtown campus, and I honestly didn’t think I would,” said second-year student Kimberly Parker. “The central campus is a little closer to my house, but the atmosphere and opportunities downtown, you can’t really beat them.”
One unique feature of the new location is a model office, where each student has a work station just like they’d find at a job, complete with a computer and telephone.
“Telephone techniques, people think, ‘Oh, anyone can do that,’” Trammell said. “Businesses often tell us, especially with millennials, no, they don’t really know how to answer the phone (and conduct business).”
The simulated office gives students a chance to learn those basic workplace skills, Trammell said.
“We’ll have other instructors come in and be that irate caller,” she said. “You give them crazy, crazy stuff to develop those critical thinking skills. They can’t say, ‘Oops, I want to start over.’ You’re getting graded on how well you can think on your feet. What would you tell that customer?”
SCC President Henry Giles said the decision to move came about after discussions with faculty more than a year ago about putting more emphasis on the business program.
“The first thing they asked for, they said, ‘We want to be downtown,’” he said.
All areas of SCC’s business school — economics, marketing and accounting — moved downtown. The logistics program at the college was moved to the Tyger River Campus in Duncan, because of its proximity to BMW Manufacturing Co. and its many suppliers.
After she finishes at SCC, Parker is considering joining the workforce or getting her bachelor’s degree at either Converse or Limestone college, possibly double-majoring in accounting and computer science.
Before that, however, Parker, a mother of three, said she’s eager to experience interning in Spartanburg, a process that will be easier with SCC’s downtown presence.
“I know that we’re supposed to be starting internships throughout downtown starting this year,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to those internship opportunities. I really want to be able to bring that experience with me once I’m done (with college).”
Trammell said the business school’s new location will give students opportunities they can’t get at many other places, and certainly won’t get from textbooks.
“Our goal is to have employers come to our campus and visit our campus along with students going out and completing internships and job shadowing,” she said. “We’ve already had some small businesses reach out to us saying things like, ‘Can you send us an internship student who knows social media?’”