Educators meet in Upstate to ensure students are work-ready

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Hundreds of educators from across South Carolina are in the Upstate for four days of the “SC Education and Business Summit.”

The conference at the Greenville Convention Center recognizes high school Career and Technical Education students and where career and technical educators come together to learn, develop best practices, and create strategies for South Carolina’s students and future workforce.

Organizers, like Angel Malone with the Office of Career and Technical Education at the S.C. Department of Education, said it’s not just about making sure the next generation is work-ready but they also have the credentials to back it up.

“This year alone we awarded over 22,000 industry credentials that say you’re ready to go into the world of work,” said Malone.

Malone said 98% of students in career and technical education programs in South Carolina graduate on time and move onto higher education.

Kama Staton, an education specialist with the S.C. Department of Education, said these kids walk in with a competitive edge.

“Those prepare students for certifications, credentials, experience to go ahead and start getting into that work site whether it be manufacturing,” said Staton.

Staton told 7News the top 3 sectors in South Carolina with the most in demand jobs are manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture.

She pointed to companies like BMW and Michelin as some that are at the table with technical educators looking for ways to keep high school students engaged.

They also offer apprenticeships and internships every year that help show students that manufacturing is not what manufacturing was 40 years ago.

Staton and Malone both said manufacturing now is high skill, high wage, and highly technical.

“You can no longer do an oil change by yourself. It’s all computerized so these kids not only have to have the hard skills but they also have to have the computer science part of it,” said Malone.

Malone said since technology advances so fast now, South Carolina has to do things at a faster rate in order to compete internationally.

That means schools will offer programs involving an education in robotics and even artificial intelligence.

The four-day summit wraps up Thursday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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