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June 9, 2020
The sights and sounds of bulldozers clearing land and moving dirt have become familiar around Greenwood in recent years.
Since Teijin Carbon Fibers Inc. broke ground in 2018 on a new $600 million carbon-fiber production facility along SC Highway 246 in Greenwood County, the site has been abuzz with construction activity. When completed, the facility will employ at least 220 people, and officials hope they won’t have to go far to find skilled talent.
Members of the South Carolina General Assembly feel the same, which is why last year they passed legislation ― SC WINS ― allocating $17 million for scholarships to address specific workforce shortages, including those in advanced manufacturing. The scholarship supplements Lottery Tuition Assistance to help further reduce tuition costs for eligible students this fall.
At the end of 2019, the SC Technical College System (SCTCS) took action to double the award for SC WINS and increase the allowable award for the Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA).
With the revised award amounts, more present and future PTC students potentially can attend college full-time ― tuition-free. The increase in SC WINS funding affects 48 of the credentials offered at PTC. The fall 2019 semester was the first in which SC WINS scholarships were available, and more than 900 PTC students are among the college’s first class of recipients.
“Any in-region current or future student who is in good standing and eligible for the scholarships most likely won’t pay anything this fall,” said Missy Perry, PTC’s director of financial aid. “It’s an unprecedented opportunity for those seeking higher education.”
SC WINS recipients now receive $100 per credit hour (increased from $50) after applying all other scholarships or grants. There is also a book allowance of up to $300 per year if a student is majoring in a critical workforce area during the semester. Student awards are limited to $2,500 in a single academic year.
In addition, the LTA award has been increased to $110 per credit hour (from $100), with no maximum credit hour limitation. This is great news for PTC students as they continue working toward their various degrees and certifications.
The SCTCS reported that 10,179 SC WINS scholarship awards were made in the Spring 2020 semester.
“This new opportunity will make getting an education more affordable for our students,” said Dr. Ray Brooks, PTC president. “SC WINS doesn’t just remove a financial barrier. It’s designed to grow the workforce in key business sectors in the state. Eligible students will pay less for tuition and build a skill set that will make them highly employable.”
Students are eligible to receive the SC WINS scholarship if they meet one of two criteria.
In one scenario, a student must be receiving LTA and majoring in an identified critical workforce area. These areas include health care, computer and information technology, advanced manufacturing and construction.
In the other scenario, a student must be receiving LTA and meet the USDA income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced price meals.
Keeping pace, the earth has been moving on PTC’s Lex Walters Campus-Greenwood as well with construction on the William H. “Billy” O’Dell Upstate Center for Manufacturing Excellence nearing completion. The 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will be equipped with the latest equipment used in advanced manufacturing, as well as flexible classroom training space available to the college’s industry partners.
For additional information about SC WINS, visit www.ptc.edu/win.