Last week, it was reported that KRA Corporation was selected by the Orangeburg Technical College (OCtech) and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG), KRA client, as the ideal partner to provide workforce development services, resources, and support to 38 Out-of-School Youth (OSY) during and after their participation in a 7-week OCtech Summer Academy Youth Program for high-school graduates from dual credit and STEM-related career and technology career clusters.
The ultimate goal of the summer program was to jump-start the process of assisting these bright students in achieving their educational and training objectives in their chosen STEM* fields of endeavor, and for eventually transitioning them into the workforce. More on this story can be found at: http://www2.kra.com/company-news/kra-youth-graduate-from-octech-summer-academy/
On July 22, 2013, 3 days before the OCtech celebration, another group of proud South Carolina parents, grandparents, and friends looked on as more than 100 of their loved ones graduated from the 6-week Plantersville Summer Academy. In attendance at the Parents Observance Day and Closing Program, Jeff Ward, Business Services Representative, KRA/WIA Program**, reported “ Queen and Ray Funnye, Directors of the Academy, organized a phenomenal summer youth education program [http://www.thevillagegroup.org/], as well as the Closing Program.
One-hundred, thirty-six students registered for the Academy, and attendance averaged an incredible 110 a day, which is a true testament to the substance of the program! The Closing Program was also attended by several inspirational Guest Speakers, including two local principals, Ms. Comaleitha Pyatt of the Carvers Bay Middle School and Ms. Beverly Grate of the Plantersville Elementary School…where the Summer Academy program was held…both stressing the critical role that education plays in achieving one’s lifetime goals.
Another notable Guest Speaker was Carl Anderson, SC State Legislator who represents KRA’s tri-County service area: Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg Counties. We were especially grateful for Dr. [Ph.D.] Anderson’s participation for several other reasons. He is extremely close to Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC), a valued KRA community partner. He earned his degree in Business Administration there, and serves on the HGTC Advisory and Minority Business Boards. And, as a member of the Waccamaw Regional Planning Commission, as well as the Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Industry, Dr. Anderson is a strong advocate of tri-County initiatives and programs, like KRA’s, that enhance the Region’s efforts to develop workers and strengthen communities.”
Ward continued, “The Closing Program included great skits, singing, and dancing, organized by the Funnyes and performed by the youth. And, a Special Presentation of Awards honored 1st and 7th – 9th graders who were ‘Most Improved in Reading and Math’ and who had the ‘Highest Average in Reading and Math’, for each grade level.
Leaders of the Academy included six certified Teachers from Georgetown County; six Senior Camp Counselors…college students from Duke University, Claflin University, and the University of South Carolina; and six Junior Camp Counselors from Carvers Bay High School…active participants in our KRA In-School-Youth [ISY] Program, who were compensated for their time through Summer Work Experience Contracts. A special thanks goes to the Cafeteria staff who cooked their daily meals and to the Bus Drivers who transported the youth to several area activities including swimming lessons, amusement parks, and bowling outings.”
Ward concluded, “I think these quotes from some of the KRA/ISY participants, who were truly inspired by their role as Junior Camp Counselors, say it all.”
- “I enjoyed working at the Academy helping with the youth. It was a great learning experience and it meant a lot to me to be a part of such a great program. I was able to go to some of the outside activities, like bowling, swimming, and the amusement park with the youth, which was a first time experience even for me. I met new people and learned a lot about others. I had an awesome time this summer working with youth at the Academy, “ stated Jeffron Smalls.
- Gregory Gamble added, “This summer meant a lot to me working at the Academy. I created a bond with the kids by helping them with their academics and also in the Social Team Building. It makes me want to strive harder in becoming a Teacher in the very near future when I start college this fall.”
- “I enjoyed working with the youth at the Academy. I was able to teach and work with them, and they were an inspiration for me. I loved teaching and working with the youth mainly because they were from the same community that I live in, and it had a positive effect on me as well, “ said Terrance Myers.
- Willie Woodbury commented, “ I enjoyed working with the youth at the Academy because it made me become a more responsible person and made me learn how to take care of the youth much better. I was able to experience new activities like bowling and swimming, and a trip to an amusement park. I learned a lot at the Academy myself; it has made me a better person and has also taught me how to study the classes that I take in school.”
*Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
**Funded by the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, the KRAProgram operates under the SCWorks Career/One-Stop Centers system, providing comprehensive workforce services for Regional jobseeker-and employer-customers. WIA services support Adult/Dislocated Workers in need of training and/or job placement opportunities, and the ISY/OSY components provide comprehensive year-round work-readiness programs for disadvantaged youth facing significant barriers to employment.