Clemson unveils workforce development program

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new partnership in the Lowcountry is expected to give a big boost to South Carolina's economy. Clemson University announced a state-wide initiative to create the training programs for the next generation of skilled workers Wednesday.

"This is really all about jobs," says Clemson University president James Barker.

The University is partnering with three South Carolina Technical colleges, including Trident Tech, to develop a future workforce that they say will be unmatched in the automotive and aviation industries.

"We need both the knowledge based economy and the manufacturing economy coming together," said Barker at the announcement.

The program will be funded through a $2.3 million National Science Foundation grant to develop learning tools and hopefully continue to attract more industry to the state.

"We can keep the best industries we have now so they won't go to other places to get this workforce," says Barker.

The University says companies like Bosch, BMW and Boeing that are already in South Carolina will benefit after the program takes shape.

Clemson will be tasked with developing online learning tools to bolster the current training curriculum at the technical schools. The tech schools will then graduate skilled workers for manufacturing jobs. 

"We'll attract more industry," says the Workforce Programs Director Anand Gramopadhye. "People will look to us and say South Carolina is not only attracting industry, but they're providing this industry with the resource pool they need to be successful."

The three technical colleges that will act as training centers will be Florence-Darlington Tech, Greenville Tech in the Upstate and Trident Tech in the Lowcountry.

Specialty classes are expected to be added to existing tech college curriculums by the end of next summer.

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