Governor Nikki Haley met Wednesday with the presidents of South Carolina’s technical colleges to discuss their role in job placement. Dr. Michael Townsend, Sr., President of Denmark Technical College said that not only did the presidents discuss their concerns with the governor, but she asked them to come back with some answers for her:
A major focus is job training and economic development–getting people back to work. We shared that concern with her–we were concerned about the funding formula. She listened. She gave us about four points that she wanted us to go and kind of bring some ideas back to her.
Townsend says some of the points Haley wants to further discuss in a meeting six months from now include how to keep the colleges accountable; getting the colleges to partner closer with agencies and schools in their community; and tech schools possibly consolidating with the State Board of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.
Ken Wingate, Chair of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education calls it a “new paradigm of collaboration”:
Collaboration of the technical colleges with the other portions of the higher education system, a new level of collaboration of working together with private sector businesses to try to create jobs in South Carolina.
Part of Haley’s plan to bring together jobs and technical colleges is to have the presidents help her recruit businesses to the areas the specific colleges serve, says Townsend. “She’s going to be calling on the technical college presidents to go on the road with her to also drum up additional business, because we are the training arms for the state of South Carolina.”
Dr. Ronnie Booth, president of Tri-County Technical College and chair of the state’s technical college president’s association was encouraged by this morning’s meeting.
We had a very frank and open conversation. I think we threw a couple of hand grenades on the table and got some good conversation. So, I’m just encouraged by a willingness to ask, is there a better way? So, Governor, I want to say on behalf of the presidents, thank you for taking the lid off–if you will–we’re not sure what’s going to come out–but thank you for taking the lid off.