The proposed Memorandum of Agreement submitted by the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) to the Lower Savannah Council of Government (LSCOG) described how OCtech would assist by customizing and delivering training programs for youth, and included the following:
- Assessment Need: The LSCOG would like to develop a high quality work and training experience that will expose youth participants to work and career opportunities in the nuclear, manufacturing/engineering, and health science related areas.
- Proposed Solution: OCtech will partner with the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board to assist high school seniors, who are currently enrolled in dual credit and career and technology STEM* courses, and who are in need of additional resources to transition into a program of study designed to ensure sustaining wages. The intent of this initiative is to assist students to complete the education and training that was begun under dual enrollment and career and technology and to eventually transition into the workforce.
- Benefits: The LSCOG will provide area youth with a high quality summer youth training and employment program with measurable outcomes and portable credentials that will be compiled into a Work Readiness Portfolio for each participating youth that includes a Work Ready SC Certificate, a Certificate of Work Readiness Skills Training (6 to 8 hours of earned college credit); Pre- and Post- Work Readiness Assessment Scores, a Resume, Documented Work Experience, and an Instructor Evaluation of Attendance and Class Participation.
OCtech was responsible for providing recruitment and testing services to identify students from dual credit and STEM-related career and technology career clusters, and for customizing and delivering high quality work-readiness training courses to prepare youth for the challenges of college success in competitive program areas. Recruitment criteria included the following: recent graduate of one of the Orangeburg and Calhoun County area high schools; low-income; already participating in one of the four STEM areas of study; and WIA-eligible to enroll in the KRA Out-of-School Youth (OSY) Program.
KRA Corporation operates the WIA Out-of-School Youth (OSY) Program, through the Orangeburg SCWorks Workforce Career Center, and was therefore the ideal third partner to participate in the Summer Academy Youth Program. Funded by the LSCOG, the KRA/OSY Program serves low-income youth facing significant challenges in gaining employment by providing a mix of services, including intensive case management; group and individual career counseling and planning; short-term pre-vocational services; and formal employability and work-maturity skills training. The Program collaborates with local partners…public- and private-sector employers and institutions of higher education…to develop jobs and/or specialized training opportunities, including apprenticeships, occupational-skills development, OJTs, entrepreneurship training, and to support college matriculation.
Evelyn Stanley, KRA Career Agent, reported, “The OCtech Summer Academy is one of the most exciting, goal-oriented, and productive programs we have ever worked with! We are so pleased to be part of this initiative in assisting the students to complete their education and training, and to eventually transition into the workforce. They are bright and motivated students, but they are still ‘at-risk’ and need resources and support, such as those provided by KRA/OSY, ‘to stay the course’ in their chosen STEM career endeavors.
Stanley continued, “Thirty-eight students started the Summer Academy on June 10th, and 38 completed the program! However, due to jobs and other personal commitments, only 23 were able to ‘march’ on July 25th at the graduation ceremony to receive their Certificate of Completion. Dr. Walt Tobin, OCtech President, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address to the assemblage…excited graduates and hundreds of proud family members, friends, teachers, etc…as they observed the festive occasion and enjoyed the refreshments. During the Summer Academy, each youth received an incentive stipend of $83.33 a week to defray expenses, and in addition to those precious Work Readiness Portfolios, each received a backpack and a T-shirt. All the graduates are looking forward to continuing their education, with some of them planning to matriculate right here in Orangeburg at OCtech. My KRA colleagues and I anticipate assisting all the students in realizing their short- and long-term education, training, and employment goals. It is going to be a pleasure!”
*Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.