HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Educating kids in specialized fields but seeing them take what they've learned here to another city is a problem the Grand Strand has faced for years. The problem is specifically evident in technology fields, because big tech and aerospace companies aren't here.
The Grand Strand Tech Council is kicking off its first ever Aerospace and Technology Symposium Wednesday at HGTC's Grand Strand Campus. The point is to showcase local tech businesses and attract outside companies to the area. But the broader picture is more important. It's for the kids here who have a knack for aerospace and technology. They'll have more opportunities as future engineers in the Grand Strand when they graduate.
The council hopes some of these businesses will like the opportunity here and see promise in the young kids expected to show up today. One local professor is taking a group of his students to the symposium for a robotics competition. He's been training his kids as part of the STEM program at the Academy of the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
"So we want to actually provide more jobs here in Horry County for the high tech student. So many students are so well-gifted with technology techniques that they're just born with...I don't know what it is in their DNA these days, but they have knacks for this kind of technology, and we need to have that here in this area for them," said Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology pre-engineering professor Bucky Sellers.
Sellers says symposiums like the aerospace and technology event give his students a chance to network and show what they've learned in their specialized classes.
One of his students is Dylan Czupik. As a junior in high school, he's building a prosthetic arm. He can do this as part of the STEM program, because it gives him the equipment he needs to excel.
Kids like Dylan are starting earlier than ever to fine-tune the skills they want to showcase on college applications, and put them at the top of their class when they start their careers.
"Where in a normal high school am I going to have access to drill presses, and lathes and welders and all kinds of stuff like this? It's just a lot better for someone going into an engineering field to go to a STEM school," Czupik says.
Kids can choose from many different types of engineering paths. Dylan has shadowed local engineers in his chosen field and competes in team robotics competitions for school.
Students like Dylan are exactly who the Grand Strand Tech Council want to benefit from the Aerospace and Technical Symposium that happening Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 950 Crabtree Lane on HGTC's Grand Strand Campus.
It's aimed to bring more tech business to the area, so students who've learned their tech skills here at home have more competitive jobs matching their expertise waiting for them after college.