A highly skilled workforce is a huge draw for a national or international corporation building research, development or manufacturing facilities, according to the founder of a South Carolina-based architecture and strategic vision firm.
Thom Penney, chairman and chief executive of LS3P, told Palmetto Business Daily the state has invested wisely in workforce education programs and leading-edge facilities that support them.
"We’ve seen industry and educational partnerships grow alongside this highly sought-after workforce," said Penney, whose company is deeply involved in the development of the new aeronautical center at Trident College.
Workforce education needs differ from region to region, depending on the type of industry in the area. In South Carolina, the aeronautical industry is growing,
"As one of South Carolina’s fastest growing industries, the aeronautical cluster is generating significant economic development within the state," Penney said. "This energy benefits not only large corporations such as Boeing who are investing in South Carolina, but also each employee associated with the industry, their families and communities, and the state as a whole."
The state has also seen similar impacts from the growth of the automotive industry and a vibrant advanced manufacturing economy, Penney said.
On the importance of integrating education to the needs of the workplace, Penney said designing world-class training facilities to work hand-in-hand with these industries is integral to attracting economic investment from companies interested in locating or expanding facilities in the state.
"These strategic investments in educating the next generation of talent are creating exciting opportunities, which will have long-term effects on the economic health of the region," he said.
Penney said the Aeronautical Training Center will allow Trident Tech to double course enrolment in the aeronautic programs. This will, he said, maximize the benefits of this workforce training for individual students, the corporations that employ them, and the growing industry across the state.
"Our South Carolina colleges and universities are to be commended for this visionary work," Penney said. "We’ve seen tremendous benefits from similar partnerships between our institutions of higher education and industries, such as the partnerships between the automotive cluster with CU-ICAR and the advanced manufacturing industry with GTC and CCTC."