PICKENS COUNTY — Alliance Pickens, with input from Pickens County existing industry partners, the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, and Tri-County Technical College, developed the Scholar Technician initiative in 2012 as a workforce development activity and economic development program.
It focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — commonly referred to as STEM — and its purpose is to encourage students to pursue technical careers while also assisting existing Pickens County STEM manufacturers with 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. Nicholas Wyman’s book Job U, which was published in January 2015, extensively discusses Scholar Technician. Wyman holds the Pickens County workforce development model as the model for the United States to follow in bridging the skills gap that exists between young people and employers.
In July 2015, Forbes Magazine featured an article that discussed Pickens County’s workforce development effort.
In September 2015, Scholar Technician was recognized as the nation’s third best workforce development human capital program by the International Economic Development Council.
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 acclaim of Scholar Technician can be attributed to the efforts of Alliance Pickens, existing Pickens County industry, and the CTC for working together to enlighten students of the careers awaiting them.