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Midlands Tech, USC partner to meet STEM workforce needs

Travis Boland
  • Travis Boland
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Sandra Kelly, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina, said the state and the nation need to better educate students in the STEM fields, and a new agreement aims to meet that challenge.

On Friday, USC signed a partnership agreement with Midlands Technical College that makes it easier for MTC students to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree from USC’s College of Engineering and Computing.

Midlands Technical College President Ronald Rhames (from left) and provost Barrie Kirk; Sandra Kelly, vice provost and dean of undergraduate students at the University of South Carolina; and Jed Lyons, associate dean of academic affairs at USC, sign a transfer agreement. (Photo/Travis Boland)“A shortage of engineers and computer scientists is a need colleges and universities must address,” Kelly said. “With nearly one-third of our students at USC being transfers, this program meets the needs of accessibility and affordability for students in the state.”

Just a month after announcing a similar agreement with USC’s College of Education, MTC President Ron Rhames called the school’s newest partnership a way to prepare a path for employers to meet workforce needs.

“A few short weeks ago we came together in hopes of solving the problem of not having enough teachers in our state,” Rhames said. “Today is equally important, as we are partnering to make it easier and less expensive for students to enter into high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The agreement allows MTC students to earn an associate degree in an engineering field and then transfer to USC at full parity with classmates to complete a bachelor’s degree in either civil, mechanical or electrical engineering.

“Students who take advantage of this program can earn two degrees in four years at a lower cost,” Rhames said.

Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of USC’s College of Engineering and Computing, was unable to attend Friday’s event, but said in a statement that the partnership will result in enhanced diversity in USC’s student population and provide students with a more impactful education.

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