COUNTY — Alliance Pickens, with input from Pickens County existing industry partners, the Pickens County Career and Technology Center (CTC), and Tri-County Technical College, developed the Scholar Technician initiative in 2012 as a work-force development activity and economic development program. This initiative focuses on the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and its purpose is to encourage students to pursue technical careers while also assisting existing Pickens County STEM manufacturers with an increased volume and velocity of technically trained employees. By using extensive hands-on technical training, this initiative encourages students to apply STEM principles to solving problems with their minds and their hands.
The Scholar Technician initiative has received international acclaim. First, published for international release by Crown/Random House Publishing in January 2015, the award winning book Job U, authored by Nicholas Wyman, extensively discusses Scholar Technician. Wyman holds the Pickens County workforce development model as the model for the U.S. to follow in bridging the skills gap that exists between young people and employers.
“I showcased Pickens County, South Carolina, on the world stage as a shining example of community partnerships that work,” said Wyman.
Next, Forbes Magazine in July 2015 discussed Pickens County’s workforce development effort. In that article, Wyman states “Today, the best brand-name manufacturing companies send recruiters to Pickens County to look over the latest crop of tech-savvy students – like Major League football teams sending their scouts to check out the up-coming talent.”
In September 2015, Scholar Technician was recognized as the nation’s third best workforce development human capital pro-gram by the International Economic Development Council.
Lastly, on April 15, the New York Times published an op-ed by Katherine Newman and Hella Winston that commended the CTC as “an example of a school that works.” Newman and Winston also discuss the CTC in their 2016 book “Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the 21st Century.”
Much of the success and ac-claim of Scholar Technician® can be attributed to the tireless efforts of Alliance Pickens, existing Pickens County industry, and the CTC for working together to enlighten students of the careers awaiting them and giving these students the encouragement to learn and develop the skills required of these careers.