Thursday, February 20, 2014

If You Build It, They Will Come

When Ernest "Fritz" Hollings was elected governor and set out to make South Carolina more competitive in recruiting business and industry, he knew that in order to do that, the state needed to do a better job of training people for the jobs.  

So in 1961, he established the South Carolina Advisory Committee for Technical Training, which oversaw the creation of permanent regional technical centers to provide post-secondary technical and other adult skills training.  

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Technical Education Center (later to be named Trident Technical College) became the 7th center to open for its first 226 students in September 1964.  
From the very beginning TTC has illustrated a characteristic that has become a hallmark of the college and the state technical college system:  rapidly changing curricula in response to new technology and changing community needs. 

In an editorial appearing September 8, 1964, the opening day of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Technical Education Center, the Charleston News and Courier states:

“Besides serving students – 250 full-time pupils to start, plus scores or hundreds of employed persons in the night classes – this new school will become a lure for industry.  Industrial plants tend to locate where such schools can supply needed skills."

Fast forward to 2009, when Boeing considered building a second 787 assembly line in Charleston. Newspapers in Washington state ran articles repeatedly pointing to Trident Technical College as one of the region's strengths, calling TTC's aeronautical training program an "ace" in South Carolina's hand to secure the Boeing line for Charleston.  

Now, as TTC celebrates 50 years with more than 17,000 students enrolled, we say thank you to Senator Hollings for his visionary leadership, and thank YOU to the friends of the college, for helping the college reach this significant milestone.  

Learn more about TTC's history 

Business Leaders thank Trident Tech for 50 years of support

Source:  Poland, T. (2013).  Transforming South Carolina's Destiny:  SC Technical College System's First 50 Years.  Columbia, SC:  SC Technical College System.

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