Mary Phylow, 31, and Kaleb Evans, 18, both Mechatronics majors at TCTC’s Oconee Campus, are attending college tuition free.
“I haven’t paid a dime in tuition this semester,” said Kaleb, a recent Walhalla High School graduate, who was awarded a Hayden Abney Fulp scholarship through the College’s Foundation, in addition to his LIFE scholarship.
“I also am attending tuition free this semester, thanks to Lottery Tuition Assistance and the South Carolina Workforce and Industry Needs Scholarship (SC WINS) funding,” said Mary, who is married and a mother of two. SC WINS is a statewide technical college scholarship program designed to address workforce shortages by providing tuition for students in critical workforce areas like Engineering Technology, Health Care, Early Child Care, and Information Technology.
Next semester she will receive an Arthrex scholarship as well.
Both Mary and Kaleb say attending college without crippling costs is just one of many benefits of pursuing a two-year degree at Tri-County.
TCTC was Kaleb’s first choice when he was a student at Walhalla High School. He was a dual enrollment/Technical Career Pathways (TCP) student, beginning his junior year and by graduation he had earned 24 credits, putting him just one year away from a two-year degree in mechatronics.
The TCP program’s goal is to develop a pipeline of individuals who are skilled and ready to fill in-demand jobs at manufacturing facilities across the Upstate.
Workforce development is just one of the many advantages of the program that since its inception in 2013 has provided high school juniors and seniors with a clear path to a debt-free education that prepares them for careers in manufacturing.
Kaleb’s goal is to graduate from TCTC in 2022 and transfer to USC Upstate and study advanced manufacturing.
Mary’s career goal also is to work in manufacturing. When she graduated from West-Oak High School in she entered Clemson University with plans to be a math teacher. She decided not to pursue that career path, dropped out after two and one-half years, got married, started a family and worked in the hospitality industry. Four and one-half years ago she accepted a job at BorgWarner and found her calling. “I really like working in manufacturing. I enjoy the hands-on environment in addition to troubleshooting and problems solving,” she said. She decided to enroll in TCTC’s Mechatronics program.
Mary leaves her third-shift job as a machinist at BorgWarner and drives to the Oconee Campus for her first 8 a.m. class. It can exhausting some days, she admits, but she says, “It’s worth it. I want to advance into BorgWarner’s maintenance department and I need a degree to do so,” she said. Her general education classes form Clemson transferred to TCTC. Mary plans to graduate next spring.