Greenwood Edge, a program that enables students to earn a Manufacturing Production Technician Certificate through Piedmont Technical College (PTC) while in high school, is launching in Greenwood County SC. The program will begin with a cohort of 24 students in fall 2018.
Greenwood Edge was created in response to recommendations outlined by a consulting company that assisted the Greenwood Partnership Alliance in creating its strategic plan, along with feedback generated from local industry leaders, Piedmont Technical College, and Greenwood County public and private schools.
“Part of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance’s Mission is to improve educational achievement to enhance the quality of life in Greenwood County,” said Heather Jones, CEO of GPA. “This program does exactly that while also helping to provide a ready workforce for economic growth as well.”
The Greenwood Edge is available for rising Junior and Senior students (public, private, & home school) that initially allows them to earn a Manufacturing Production Technician Certificate while in high school. These students can either go directly into the workforce upon graduation or continue working toward a Mechatronics Associate degree as they will already have completed a semester of coursework toward that end.
“Piedmont Technical College is excited about this new opportunity for Greenwood County students,” said Ray Brooks, president of PTC. “This innovative program is a great way to connect K-12 and higher education to the needs of our business community, and it could serve as a model for more opportunities for our students in the future.”
Students will learn about a variety of manufacturing skills, levels, and positions. They’ll complete the program with industry-recognized certifications, including the South Carolina Manufacturing Certification, OSHA, Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC), Lean Six Sigma and Forklift.
Participating students will master skills that employers are looking for in employees right now, and participating employers will guarantee an interview to students who complete the program.
A $2,070 value, the program is offered at no cost to students thanks to the generous support of the Greenwood Promise, and financial support from each of the county’s three public school districts. The Greenwood Promise is the fiscal agent for the Greenwood Edge. However, they are two separate programs.
To get the Greenwood Edge started, the Greenwood Promise has provided a one time commitment to cover the cost of tuition for the initial cohort of up to 24 students that will begin in fall of 2018. Funding commitments for subsequent cohorts will be sought from private industry, public funds, and grants. The Greenwood County public school districts, will cover the costs of transportation, book fees, testing fees, and certificate fees for their respective students. Private schools and home schools will each have their own policies regarding transportation and ancillary costs.
Participation in the Greenwood Edge will count as one semester toward Greenwood Promise eligibility. Greenwood Edge Applications will initially be made available to students through school guidance counselors and can also be accessed through a web link. Additional training opportunities will be explored as the Greenwood Edge begins generating momentum.
“The Greenwood Promise is committed to providing a tuition-free path to ensure Greenwood County students obtain the education needed to develop a highly-skilled workforce,” said Kris Burris, executive director of the Promise. “We are honored to act as the fiscal agent for Greenwood Edge. Our support of this initiative further demonstrates our commitment to meeting the needs of local industries now and in the future.”