CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County School District is partnering with HGTC to give high school students the opportunity to get a full year of college credit before graduation. It's an opportunity that will benefit students future, and the local work force.
It's a welding program open to high school seniors. After students finish their senior year they only have to complete one semester of classes to get the certification they need to get a job.
"They'll be ready to go, and well-trained employee for our area work force," says HGTC Assistant Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Phillip Render. A work force with an average employee age of 60-years-old. The Technical Scholars Welding Program prepares students to jump into a specialized career where they often earn around $18 to $20-an-hour starting out.
Senior Corey Singleton is enrolled in the welding program. He says it's a great career he has as something to fall-back on if what he wants to go to college for doesn't pan out. "There's industries in automotive, there's industries in energy factories, building airplanes and the list just continues forever. The trade jobs, such as air conditioning, welding, automotive, everything has fallen out. People all want to go to technology. And they don't really realize that later down the road, we're going to need these people still to be here because robots can't do everything. "
And parents, the best part of the program is it's free. An entire year of college credit, at no cost to you, and no debt for your students.
And it's been a priority for local government to grow the local work force when manufacturers are considering moving to the area, so there is a supply to meet the demand of jobs.
It's the ultimate alternative for students who decide a 4 year degree isn't in their future. "In the future we also hope to offer heating and air conditioning, HVAC if you will, and also machine tool," Render says. "So, we can have a cluster of advanced manufacturing technologies right here at Horry Georgetown Technical College."
This year the program fit ten students but the school district is working to gauge interest from students around the county and hopefully open it up to more.