Spartanburg County’s three career centers provide a unique opportunity for employers to craft a pipeline of potential future employees.
The county’s three career centers – Swofford Career Center, R.D. Anderson Applied Technology Center, and the Daniel Morgan Technology Center – prepare students for careers whether they attend a post-secondary institution or go straight into the workforce. Employers large and small in a variety of fields can call on these well-prepared students.
Across Spartanburg County, students get hands-on in fields like automotive tech, engineering, horticultural science, culinary arts, health science, welding, mechatronics, health care, and more.
“What better place to learn than in the real-life world of work,” said Kerri McAlister, industrial relations coordinator at R.D. Anderson. “Employers who provide a student with a co-op experience will see a return on their investment. These students are extremely loyal to the companies that have taken a chance on them. If they perform well their co-op turns into a job offer upon graduation.”
All three schools offer students the chance to combine classroom learning with on-the-job experience. Students can also shadow employers at local firms to get an up-close look at what the career requires.
Beyond on-the-job experience, McAlister said students get soft-skill training in things like resume writing and interview prep.
The Spartanburg Economic Futures Group connects employers with the schools upon request or if an employer has a particular need for employees, said Dwayne Hatchett, director of existing industry.
“One of my roles is to connect businesses with our local resources, and one of our best local resources and allies are the three career centers in Spartanburg County,” he said.
Swofford Career Center serves students at Chapman, Landrum, Boiling Springs, and Chesnee high schools in Districts 1 and 2.
R.D. Anderson Applied Technology Center serves students from Woodruff, Byrnes, and Dorman high schools in Districts 4, 5, and 6.
Daniel Morgan Technology Center serves students from Broome and Spartanburg high schools in Districts 3 and 7.
In 2018, the EFG team were guests at the Boiling Springs High Ninth Grade Campus as Cooper Standard Automotive a virtual job-shadowing program. Students were able to see car, move, and change out car parts while wearing a virtual reality headset, a sort of futuristic training that didn’t require them to be at Cooper Standard’s plant.
Advancements in technology make these kind of pre-apprenticeship trainings more possible, Hatchett said. He said it allow students to prepare for a career field before even committing to an internship, ensuring students entering a particular field will not only be ready for what comes from that job, but interested in the work of it.
In his work with Spartanburg’s existing industries, Hatchett promotes the career centers’ efforts. He said the facilities are an asset when recruiting new industry to Spartanburg, too.
In a tight labor market where companies are concerned about finding enough talent to fill open positions, employers should think seriously about utilizing Spartanburg’s career centers as a way to get students interested in their company, what they do, and ultimately, considering a job there.
“We consider them a very important resource in the work that we do,” Hatchett said. “Engaging with career centers should be one of the avenues our companies look at. Getting students to tour the facility or having employees go and talk to classrooms can be a big step in creating that employment pipeline.”