Technical Career Pathways Students Gain Skill Set, Save Money, Have Pathway to Career
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/4/2019
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- For six years, the Technical Career Pathways (TCP) program has remained dedicated to its original goal -- 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.
The program began with seven students from Crescent High School and to date, more than 500 have participated in a pathway. “We’ve come a long way,” said Amanda Blanton, director of high school outreach and engagement.
Eighty-four percent of those who successfully completed their pathway in high school have entered Tri-County to complete an associate degree in the following majors: CNC Programming, General Engineering Technology, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Industrial Electronics, Mechatronics, and Welding.
There is no cost to high school dual enrollment students – the program is state funded. After high school graduation, students may receive Lottery Tuition Assistance, LIFE scholarships, SC Wins, or other financial aid, and most graduate – debt free -- with an associate degree within one year of high school graduation.
Many double major, gaining more skills and making themselves even more marketable.
Javier Elias Amador saw the value of TCP when he was a junior at Seneca High School. He earned 13 hours of Technical Advanced Placement (TAP) credit through Mechatronics classes taken at the Hamilton Career Center and 15 hours of dual credit through courses taken at the Oconee Campus during his senior year. Following graduation in 2019, he completed three classes at the Oconee Campus during the summer and entered the Mechatronics program this fall as a sophomore with 37 credit hours.
He will spend two semesters at Tri-County and will graduate next spring with a Mechatronics degree.
“Students like Javier are ready to go to work before they are 20 years of age. They have an associate degree by age 19 and will have their pick of jobs -- jobs that pay close to $50,000 a year,” said Blanton.
“I know one TCP student who earned a Mechatronics degree, and by the time he was 20, he bought a house. These success stories are amazing and are concrete evidence of the program’s success. TCP changes people’s lives, and the impact this has on one student can change a family and possibly a community. We are continuously trying to inform the community about this opportunity,” said Blanton.
“Once students enter the pathway, they find their niche and see the direction where this can lead. They can have a successful career in two years. It’s very fulfilling for me to see the impact TCP has on their lives,” she said.
“The bottom line is students are educated for great jobs in areas of high demand. Most of these pay more than jobs that require a baccalaureate degree. Our graduates have no problem finding employment after graduation. The jobs are waiting on them when they graduate,” she added.
“Tri-County and our educational partners (Anderson School Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, Anderson Career and Technology Center and the School Districts of Oconee and Pickens County) help us educate the community about in-demand career options. Our partners are important because it takes all of us to deliver the message to our students and parents about career options and how important the jobs are in our community now,” said Blanton.
Javier wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school, but when he heard about TCP he says didn’t have to think about it. “It’s the best decision I ever made,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity – more students should take advantage of it. You don’t lose a thing -- you gain a skill set, save tons of money, and have a pathway to a career.”