GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Greenville County Schools’ CTE Innovation Center will open to students on Tuesday when the 2023-2034 school year begins.

The CTE Innovation Center will be the first in the state to offer an Emerging Automotive Research program to students. It will also offer programs in Aerospace Technology, Emerging Cybersecurity/Networking, Clean Energy Technology, and Automation and Robotics.

“The vision for this center is that students have the opportunity to explore, research, problem solve and learn what that looks like,” Katie Porter, the director of CTE Innovation Center, said. “It’s not just reading something. You have to actually know how to apply it.”

The CTE Innovation Center is designed to give students a hands-on experience, with some learning how to program robots and others experiencing a flight simulator right inside their classroom.

“They’ll have an opportunity to actually sit in a real cockpit from a King Air 200,” Jeremy Dodd, the aerospace technology instructor, said. “They’re going to get an opportunity to do model rocketry and 3D design with engineering. We’re going to talk about some maintenance discipline concepts for aircraft maintenance. They’ll explore some core competencies for pilots.”

Students in each program can earn certifications in their fields.

The goal is for all students to graduate with skills to enter the workforce or pursue higher education. They will also be connected with internships and networking opportunities with companies in South Carolina.

“The job demand and job growth has shifted,” Porter said. “Industry is saying, ‘We need skilled workers. We need educated workers who have touched, researched and played with all of these products and ideas.'”

Classes will be offered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students as honors-level courses. Students must apply to take the classes. Bus transportation will be offered to students.