A $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation has allowed Spartanburg Community College to implement a new associate degree program in welding, addressing the growing need for a more qualified Upstate workforce.
“The SCC Foundation is proud of its’ partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation and thrilled this significant gift took an essential program to the next level,” shares Bea Walters Smith, executive director, SCC Foundation.
The demand for qualified welders is increasing in the Upstate as the local economy grows and an aging workforce retires. South Carolina has approximately 920 position vacancies for welders annually and there is expected to be a 14.8 percent rise in this number by 2026. By purchasing new experiential welding equipment and adding new courses to the curriculum, graduates of SCC’s welding program will enter the workforce as skilled, talented professionals ready to meet the critical needs of a growing industry.
“Spartanburg Community College is appreciative of the support from Duke Energy. This investment signifies a commitment to creating a brighter future by investing in industry needs through a partnership with our college that supports the supply of a dedicated talent pipeline that is vital to our economy and our prosperity,” states Dr. Michael Mikota, SCC president.
Funding from Duke Energy was used to construct an outdoor metal platform designed to simulate a live field welding workplace, giving students exposure to structures at elevated heights. “This year has proven a challenge for many education organizations and programs across the state,” said Linda Hannon, government and community relations manager, Duke Energy Carolinas. “That’s why it is even more critical today to continue Duke Energy’s tradition of investing in education programs that help strengthen the workforce pipeline needed to fuel the Upstate’s economic engine now and in the years to come.”
“We are incredibly grateful for Duke Energy’s support. This new Associate Degree in Welding allows us to implement new courses in a real-world work environment,” said Jeff Hunt, dean, SCC Technologies. “Students gain exposure to all safety and workplace skills as well as the technical welding skills that employers demand.”
For more information on the SCC Welding Program of study, visit the SCC website at www.sccsc.edu/Welding-Program.