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Cherokee County will receive an economic boost courtesy of a $7,500 Bank of America Foundation grant to the Spartanburg Community College Foundation that will address the area's regional workforce shortage. Grant funds will be used to train 50 individuals in the Operation Workforce Training program, which offers participants 65 hours of high-quality industry instruction and materials, and post-training interviews with partner companies who will hire trained employees full-time.
"In order for our community to thrive, we must work together to fill jobs with skilled employees," said Stacy Brandon, Upstate S.C. Market president, Bank of America. "Through job training and quality instruction, this program is giving underemployed or unemployed individuals an opportunity for a rewarding career. We're excited to support this training and to drive economic mobility in our community."
Piloted in spring 2017, the program trains 50 students in high-demand career skills over two years. At the end of the grant period, participants will be employed full time, or will continue in additional educational opportunities. The program supports SCC's efforts to address regional workforce gaps, the underemployed or unemployed, individuals in need of adult education/GED and training, and high school seniors with no post-graduation plans.
"This program helps us reach people who might otherwise slip through the cracks," explains Daryl Smith, executive director of SCC's Cherokee County Campus. "These folks have value, and they can be great assets to companies. This Bank of America grant gives us the means to prove that."
SCC partnered with local industry in Cherokee County to design the program. Three partner corporations, Hamrick Mills, Nestle and Plygem, will offer program participants plant tours, as well as formally interviewing and hiring those who complete the program, providing full-time employment.
The Cherokee County School District will identify students to participate in the program, focusing on students from Blacksburg High School and Cherokee County Technology Center as a top priority. Additionally, the Cherokee County Adult Education program will participate by identifying and supporting adult education population participants.
Smith looks forward to seeing local residents employed and says, "We're really excited about the Bank of America Foundation's commitment to Cherokee County citizens. We're glad the company recognizes what our citizens can accomplish."