Instructor Mark Franks And Tcp Cstudents DSC3477

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                           
February 2, 2024
Karen Potter,

Tri-County Technical College celebrates 10 years of Technical Career Pathways

PENDLETON, SC – Tri-County Technical College and its partners celebrated 10 years of the Technical Career Pathways (TCP) program today (Feb. 2). TCP was established during the 2013-2014 academic year with seven high school students at Crescent High School. Over the last 10 years, 894 students at 16 high schools in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties have enrolled in the program.

The initial goal of the program was to create a pipeline of individuals who are skilled and ready to fill in-demand jobs at manufacturing facilities across the Upstate.

“Ten years ago, the most in-demand career fields in our area were CNC programming and operations, mechatronics, welding and HVAC. This is still true today,” said Tri-County Technical College President Dr. Galen DeHay. “According to local labor market data, more than 1,900 multi-skilled technicians are employed in the tri-county area, and the demand for workers is greater than the supply of qualified employees.”

Over the past decade, the program has grown from one pathway—basic electronics—to eight pathways: Business Administration; Computer and Information Technology; CNC Programming and Operations; Emergency Medical Technology; Engineering Systems Technology; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning; Mechatronics; and Welding. 

“Many students served through TCP may never have considered attending college, much less beginning college while in high school,” said President DeHay. “But these pathways have broken down barriers and made a college education possible for hundreds of students in our region.”

Much of TCP’s success can be attributed to the fact that it is accessible, affordable and transferable. Classes are taught by college faculty at the high schools, career centers or a Tri-County campus adjacent to a career center, thereby allowing students to use district-provided transportation if needed. Additionally, tuition and related expenses, such as books and fees, are fully funded by the state. Plus, students who decide to pursue further education after completing TCP and graduating high school can complete an Associate in Applied Science degree at Tri-County in one year instead of two, saving them additional tuition costs. And those who choose to enter the workforce immediately after completing TCP and graduating high school will have more job opportunities and higher starting pay thanks to the Technical Operator 1 certificate they earned in the program.

Pendleton High School senior Crystal Lopez is enrolled in the Welding pathway. “I have learned that there is so much more to Welding than just putting two rods together. It requires critical thinking and patience. I also can’t believe that I’m going to walk across the stage at a college graduation before my high school graduation,” she said.

After high school, Lopez plans to attend Tri-County Technical College to earn her associate degree before joining the U.S. Air Force.

In the future, Tri-County plans to expand technical education opportunities to home school and private school students. The College also plans to explore additional pathways outside of manufacturing. For example, the two newest pathways—Business Administration and Computer Information Technology—launch this semester and next fall respectively.

“We are excited about the future, and we look forward to helping more students see that rewarding careers that pay a family-sustaining wage are within reach,” said Dr. Mandy Elmore, assistant vice president of curriculum and instruction at Tri-County.



About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, business administration, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit