SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Today, a group of Spartanburg County students signed their intent to enter the workforce after graduation.
At a signing day ceremony on Tuesday, employers and family members celebrated students who trained at the RD Anderson Applied Technology Center and the Master Skills Center. Leaders said the students are weeks away from graduating and are workforce ready.
“I’ve learned a lot actually,” said student Kaiden McAbee. “They were very good at teaching basic welding parts and basic welding maneuvers.”
Kerri McAlister, the workforce partnerships manager, said the industry programs offered help set students up for success. Some of the courses offered include automotive technology, welding, cosmetology, and more.
“These students are walking away with health insurance, a great salary, a 401k, and they’re not looking and staring at a lot of college debt,” said McAlister.
McAbee accepted his job offer on Tuesday with Interstate Mechanical. He said through his courses, he learned valuable career skills.
“Trades aren’t ever really going to go away, working in a trade, you’ll always be able to find a job,” said McAbee.
Some employers said skilled workers are in demand.
“We’ve been looking for good folks and we’re just like, ‘where can we find people?” said Rick Eitel, the general manager for MW Components.
Eitel said students in RD Anderson and Master Skills Center courses come to work prepared.
“They have the math background, they’re able to jump right in, they want to learn, and they want to be creative and that skill set is really hard to find,” said Eitel.
By hiring these skilled students, McAlister said employers receive a return on their investment too.
“They are receiving a full-time employee that’s already been trained. Some of these students have been on the job with these companies since August,” said McAlister.
Middle school students who are interested in taking workforce development classes in high school can reach out to their counselors to get involved.
The RD Anderson Center offers 19 program areas to students at Byrnes, Dorman, and Woodruff high schools. The Master Skills Center offers 3 programs to students at all Spartanburg County high schools.