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Spartanburg Community College is helping 12 county adult education students receive manufacturing training for future jobs once they finish high school.
About 22 percent of Cherokee County residents over the age of 25 have no high school diploma or GED equivalency and become discouraged from attempting to enter the workforce.
This resulted in Spartanburg Community College receiving $30,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation to serve 50 students through the new Operation Workforce Training program. An additional $5,000 grant from SunTrust Foundation allowed the college to serve four more students.
County adult education students kicked off their training with plant tours of Dollar Tree, Plygem and Hamrick Mills on Oct. 10.
The students will receive 65 hours of training, forklift safety certification manufacturing process and tools, manufacturing skill standards and a safety certification for general industry through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“We don’t want our students to leave here with just a GED or a high school diploma,” Cherokee County Adult Education teacher Lisa Hannon said. “Our goal is to help our students become self-sustaining citizens in Cherokee County. This is a great partnership with Spartanburg Community College.”
Once the training program is completed, students can be employed full-time with the local industries or continue in additional education opportunities.
“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.”
Spartanburg Community College has once again provided scholarships for adult education students to enroll in certificate programs offered in areas such as certified nursing assistant and phlebotomy. Students take the certification courses while attending adult education.
Adult education teacher Stacie Sprouse said the workforce training and college certificate programs make it possible for interested students to prepare for a future career while finishing high school.
“It is changing the lives of our students,” Sprouse said.
“These certification classes offered by SCC are opening up new doors for students to consider careers they might have never thought about,” she added. “It is showing our students that if they are willing to work hard they can do anything they want.”