SUMMERVILLE — Summerville High School students with the Career and Technical Education Center were recently reassured that if they want a manufacturing career, there’s a growing future for it.
“We’re building the workforce of tomorrow,” said Lt. Governor Pamela Evette.
Evette paid a visit to Summerville on Dec. 9 to tour Dorchester School District 2’s growing CTE Center at SHS.
The program offers courses for all grade levels and gives students the opportunity to get training and education in subjects like manufacturing, culinary arts and media technology. The goal is to develop a workforce that meets the business and industry needs in the state.
At the end of the course in high school, students could potentially become certified in areas including veterinary assistant, electronics technician or database design specialist.
It’s a type of education program growing in popularity, with different school districts adapting their own programs.
The Berkeley County School District and the Charleston County School District also have a CTE program.
On Dec. 9, Evette was guided by Summerville High students, alumni and faculty to showcase what is offered.
Zachary Tyson, a Clemson University freshman and Summerville High alumnus, guided Evette through the manufacturing and engineering spaces at the center. She got to see students working with wood, building computers and industrial equipment.
“The amount of opportunity just in this area is unlimited,” Evette said during the tour.
Tyson said he was excited to see so much enthusiasm at the CTE center. When he was a Summerville student, he said, he took introduction to manufacturing and every engineering program that was offered.
“Not every student is going to be an English major,” he said.
Tyson is currently a mechanical engineering and physics major at Clemson. His plan is to one day work on building rockets.
In addition to seeing the manufacturing space, Evette ate food prepared by the culinary arts students and toured the biomedical science space.
Students were learning how to apply a combat application tourniquet at the time of her visit. It was during that session that she took a few minutes to speak to students about the value of programs like the CTE center.
She encouraged them to speak to other students about what they were learning. That way, they are exposed to career paths beyond just going to a four-year college.
She told them that in the next couple of years manufacturing careers are expected to grow in South Carolina.
“This is the career path that all kids need to be excited about,” she said.
Some DD2 officials were also present. Superintendent Joseph Pye praised the program and its staff for giving children more options for their future.
“We want them to be successful,” he said.
DD2 School Board Chairwoman Gail Hughes agreed and said the center is important because all students don’t have the resources or ability to go to a four-year college.
“And there’s nothing wrong with that,” she said.
Greg Harrison, DD2’s executive director of special programs, expects the center to grow in the coming years. He said he is thankful for the attention from Evette and the financial support from business partners like Volvo, Bosch and many others in the region.
In the future, he said, they are looking to push for apprenticeships and more job training programs so that when students leave the center, they walk out with a job.
Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.