Students in Fairfield County, both traditional and nontraditional, have an opportunity for expanded career development thanks to $100,000 in new scholarships for Midlands Technical College’s Corporate and Continuing Education QuickJobs programs.
The scholarships provide tuition assistance for unemployed or underemployed residents of Lexington, Richland and Fairfield counties.
The scholarship application and more information can be found at www.mtctraining.com/QuickJobs_Scholarship.htm. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1,, and awards will be made by Aug. 15.
In order to qualify for the program, an applicant’s family income must be no greater than 80 percent of the median income for Fairfield County. In 2010, Fairfield median income was $32,022, so 80 percent would be $25,617. Persons with incomes that amount or lower would be eligible for this need-based program.
Midlands Technical College Vice President for Corporate and Continuing Education Dr. Barrie Kirk said that “QuickJobs programs prepare participants for high-demand careers in as short a time possible, often in less than three months. The classes offer skills training that results in industry-recognized credentials, and provide the critical training needed to move directly into employment.”
Three dozen programs qualify and that eight are available at the Midlands Technical College campus in Fairfield.
The eight jobs here are office administrator, cardiac care technician, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, phlebotomist, patient care technician, pipe fitter and welder.
Kirk noted a trend of growing enrollment in the Quickjobs program over the last five years.
“We had been offering health care courses at the career and technology center but when the new facility opened we could expand our offerings. We have absolutely seen them grow,” Kirk said.
About 130 of the 4,117 students enrolled last year came from Fairfield County. Of those Fairfield students, 65 percent studied health care programs, 18 percent welding and 16 percent did information technology.
Kirk mentioned that there are so many jobs coming available through the Shaw group but that it takes skilled trade workers to fill those positions.
“We expect people will be very interested in these scholarships so they can become ready for career opportunities with Shaw,” Kirk said.
Within the last three weeks, four of their welding students were hired by Shaw, in fact. She said that in South Carolina at the end of May there were 51,000 open jobs but 195,905 unemployed workers.
“With programs like this, it helps fill a gap for the unemployed and the underemployed for the jobs that are available but go unfilled because of a lack of skilled workforce. This program and scholarship would be a perfect match for those individuals, according to Kirk. That is important because industry experts agree, according to MTC, that 70 percent of the jobs projected through 2012 will require specific occupational training rather than a college degree.
The Quick jobs program is part of a broad educational approached aimed at elevating Fairfield County and the employment prospects of its residents.
Kirk reported that in the fall 1,100 square feet of space will be developed in Fairfield Central High School specifically for promoting career exploration and career development.
Helping students with college as a goal is one role for the area but so will steering them toward other kinds of career-specific training programs and helping them learn to develop their talents.
She said more information on their innovative efforts will be forthcoming in August but that she envisioned the area as a cool, fun space that will attract student participation and help mold young people for the future.
Perhaps some of those young people could one day benefit from this scholarship program as well.