$1.6 million grant to expand career outreach to high school students

February 23, 2022

Piedmont Technical College (PTC) has received a $1.6 million grant from the SC Department of Education to serve objectives of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) legislation, which established funding under the CARES Act to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. As a grant recipient, over three years, PTC will collaborate with area school districts to provide directed advisement and wraparound support services to high school students to help ensure success in their college dual enrollment journeys.

PTC is one of five technical colleges to receive an allotment from the $11.5 million partnership announced at a joint news conference recently conducted by the SC Department of Education and the SC Technical College System.

Dr. Hope E. Rivers

“We don’t just want to enroll students. We want to graduate them,” SCTCS President Dr. Tim Hardee said at the news conference. “These colleges were selected because they represent the very students who need the most help in the hardest-hit counties.”

“We have a very healthy dual enrollment program that has been growing over the past five years,” said Josh Black, PTC vice president for student affairs and communications. “This funding will enable PTC to provide higher-level engagement with dual enrollment students to help them choose the appropriate courses that will move them along their desired career path.”

Included in the funding is the new position of Upper Savannah Regional Career Specialist (RCS) whose sole purpose is to make students aware of the many career paths dual enrollment study and early college credit can offer. The RCS will support and assist school counselors and career specialists in all school districts that are members of the Western Piedmont Education Consortium (WPEC).

PTC President Dr. Hope E. Rivers wishes she had dual enrollment-style opportunities when she was growing up in rural Whitmire, SC.

“There has long been a career advisement equity gap in communities that may lack such resources,” Dr. Rivers said. “We want to make sure students in our region have as many opportunities as possible to finish high school and get into a solid career path. When COVID forced schools to go virtual, that inhibited the ability of school counselors to reach the students who most needed them for a variety of reasons, including internet and technology issues. This ESSER funding will help students access a more equitable advising environment and make up for opportunities that may have been lost or delayed because of the pandemic.”

To learn more about dual enrollment at PTC, visit www.ptc.edu/dual.