Florence Darlington Technical College was one South Carolina school to receive a portion of a $5 million grant. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
Students are trained on machinery at the Southeastern Institue of Manufacturing and Technology. (Source: Audrey Biesk)
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Technical colleges in South Carolina received a $5 million grant to go toward apprenticeship training, which will benefit Florence Darlington Technical College.
It was one of 16 technical schools in the state to receive these funds.
The grant came from the U.S. Department of Labor to help apprenticeship initiatives in South Carolina for manufacturing, maintenance, professional services and information technology.
“We have had this long partnership with the industries in our area to train their workforce," said Clay Williams, public relations director for FDT.
That workforce resides in Florence, Darlington and Marion counties. The apprenticeship program allows companies to apply for the grant and use up to $12,500 to pay for the education and $2,500 dollars to train each student.
FDTC, which has been in operation for more than 50 years, relies on federal and state government grants to fund this.
“We were created to make more workers available for manufacturing and now manufacturing has moved from the smoke stack industry to the high tech industry," Williams said. "We are still providing those folks the training they need to go out and get those jobs."
Jim Hill, industry program manager at FDTC, worked closely with the students at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology to train them on the machinery. He also helped make the grant possible.
"When they do their training here, they go out and apply it and we see employers pretty impressed with the types of skills of the people that we are turning out," Hill said.
That also helps employers continue to come back and look for FDTC students to hire in their workforce. The grant is good over the next five years and industries are now able to offset training costs for their employees because of a $1,000 state tax credit..
“So it’s a win-win for everybody in the state," Hill said. "Money is available, students learn, students get experience (and) manufacturers get experienced people they can opt to hire at the end of the apprenticeships.”
Companies interested in the apprenticeship program in the FDTC service area are encouraged to apply by contacting the college's workforce development department at (843) 413-2739 or (843) 413-2746.