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The Spartanburg Community College Foundation was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to help high school seniors (17-19 years old) and individuals pursuing a GED through Cherokee County Adult Education achieve training and gain employment.
About 22 percent of Cherokee County's population over the age of 25 has no high school diploma nor GED and can become discouraged when trying to enter the workforce. The Duke Energy Foundation grant will help fund a partnership between the Cherokee County School District, the Cherokee County Adult Education and Spartanburg Community College to identify students to participate in Operation Workforce Training, a new program offering a chance for success to participating students.
"We hear from commercial and industrial customers all the time about the shortage of skilled individuals for positions in general industry in the Upstate," said Rick Jiran, vice president for Community Relations for Duke Energy. "It is critical to support programs like this that build a pipeline of qualified workers for the businesses that call our region home."
Lack of training and experience hinders an individual's ability to secure full-time employment within local industry. "We have some challenges, but we refuse to let those challenges define us," explains Daryl Smith, director of the SCC Cherokee County Campus. "We're always looking for ways to help students succeed. We enjoy partnering with local industry to create successful workforce solutions."
Students enrolled in the Operation Workforce Training program will receive 65 hours of training, including OSHA 10 for General Industry, Six Sigma Yellow Belt, DMAIC Process and Tools, MSSC Quality Practices & Measurement, and Forklift Safety Certification. The program is designed to train 25 students starting this summer with the goal of placing 25 program participants in full time employment or enrolling in additional educational opportunities by March 2019.
"This is one of those programs where students can build their path," said Dr. Quincie Moore, superintendent of Cherokee County School District. "They can begin with training and employment, and pursue their degree once they have career experience. It can be a real game-changer for them."
To ensure that students are learning skills that translate into jobs in the regional economy, the program partners with two local employers - Hamrick Mills and Ply Gem. Both organizations will provide plant tours for program participants, as well as formally interviewing and hiring those who successfully complete the program.
"At Ply Gem, we focus our recruiting efforts in Cherokee County therefore we want our citizens to have every opportunity available to make them successful when they begin employment with us. This is what the program and grant can accomplish," said Trudy Hood, human resources manager at Ply Gem.
Kim Phillips, human resources director at Hamrick Mills, Inc. added, "This program will give us young, bright and eager applicants for consideration. Having access to these potential employees has been extremely helpful. We look forward to participating in the program."
Cherokee County industries interested in participating as Operation Workforce Training employers, or students interested in the program, should contact SCC's Daryl Smith at (864) 206-2702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download a photo from the grant check presentation at the following link: