Category: Uncategorized

Index-Journal: Greenwood Promise called generational gift at donor function

By ADAM BENSON abenson@indexjournal.com

The Greenwood Promise assures that eligible graduating high school students will be able to attend Piedmont Technical College for two years at no cost to them.

But ask 20-year-old Noel Johnson what the program means, and she’ll use another word: Miracle.

“Going to college, I knew a four-year degree wasn’t for me. It was a fear of how I was going to pay for college that scared me,” Johnson said. “That’s where the Greenwood Promise came in and removed the financial burden for me.”

Fresh off being named a Piedmont Tech honor student, Johnson plans to pursue a career in human resources, eventually giving back to the program that removed a barrier otherwise keeping her from personal success.

Since beginning with the Greenwood County graduating high school class of 2017, enrollment metrics have increased dramatically — a phenomenon many officials attribute to the innovative philanthropic program.

In 2016, 175 Greenwood County high school graduates were enrolled at Piedmont Tech. That figure jumped to 243 in the inaugural year of the Promise and hovered at nearly the same number in 2018 with 236.

Read the rest of the article on the Index-Journal

Greenwood Promise receives new commitment with Mumford Industries

Jul 12, 2019 – The Greenwood Promise received a new commitment, with Mumford Industries pledging its support to the program with a $10,000 pledge. Mumford Industries, Inc, serving manufacturers for 24 years, is one of the leading full-service recycling companies in the Southeast. Located in the quiet community of Ninety Six, SC, Mumford Industries is committed to supporting the economy, families, and students of Greenwood County. As the Promise begins its campaign for Phase 2, their pledge exemplifies the community’s belief in the importance of education and providing a skilled and educated workforce for families and industries in Greenwood County. The Greenwood Promise is an educational initiative aimed at increasing the economic growth of Greenwood County by promoting post-secondary education and thereby ensuring a skilled and educated workforce. Enrollment of Greenwood County students at Piedmont Technical College is consistently increasing, demonstrating the county’s support of a community that stands behind education. This initiative enables Greenwood County to be a viable competitor in both industry and community attractiveness by promising all eligible Greenwood County high school graduates tuition assistance. The program supports an associate’s degree and hopes to provide the opportunity for advancement to a four-year degree for those with the academic ability to succeed.

Read More

Cardinal Health pledges to The Greenwood Promise

Jun 10, 2019 – The Greenwood Promise received a new commitment this week, with Cardinal Health pledging its support to the program, with the completion of a $50,000 pledge, starting with a $10,000 donation.

With the transition of ownership from Medtronic to Cardinal Health, Cardinal Health, through the hard work and diligence of the team in Greenwood, was able to work with their Corporate leadership to continue their support. The Promise and Cardinal Health, namely the local team in Greenwood, could not be happier about the re-establishment of this pledge and relationship. As the Promise begins its campaign for Phase 2, their pledge exemplifies the community’s belief in the importance of education and providing a skilled and educated workforce for families and industries in Greenwood County.

The Greenwood Promise is an educational initiative aimed at increasing the economic growth of Greenwood County by promoting post-secondary education and thereby ensuring a skilled and educated workforce. Enrollment of Greenwood County students at Piedmont Technical College is consistently increasing, showing

This initiative enables Greenwood County to be a viable competitor in both industry and community attractiveness by promising all eligible Greenwood County high school graduates tuition assistance.

The program supports an associate’s degree and hopes to provide the opportunity for advancement to a four-year degree for those with the academic ability to succeed.

Read more

Greenwood Edge inaugural class completes program

May 24, 2019 – The inaugural class of graduates from the Greenwood Edge program received their certificates May 14 at a special ceremony at Piedmont Technical College (PTC) in Greenwood. In all, 19 students received certificates in a number of manufacturing disciplines through the collaborative scholarship program sponsored by the Greenwood Promise and the county’s school districts.

“These students have accomplished a great deal,” said PTC Training Coordinator Trish Buis. “We have a lot of companies where people start out as material handlers and work their way up. There are lots of opportunities with these certifications.”

Greenwood Edge ultimately is designed to help expedite graduates’ movement either directly into the workforce or into technical education focused on manufacturing. In Greenwood, approximately one in four jobs are in manufacturing. Students who successfully complete Greenwood EDGE are guaranteed a job interview with one of the sponsoring companies.

Of the 19 students, 14 received PTC’s Manufacturing Production Technician Certificate, and seven received the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Certificate. Several students earned multiple certifications out of 11 disciplines offered through the program, including MSSC Quality Practices and Measurement, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 General Industry, and SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt.

At the same event, Greenwood Edge welcomed its incoming Class of 2020 with an official signing ceremony. Fourteen students ― five from Emerald High School, four from Greenwood High School, one from Lighthouse Christian School and four from Ware Shoals High School – signed commitments and were presented Greenwood Edge ball caps and other gifts provided by corporate sponsors Lonza, Fujifilm, Ascend, Monti and Greenwood Mills.

In welcoming remarks, PTC President Ray Brooks commended the newest cohort of signees for taking this first step in their career trajectory.

“You are taking a step to move forward with a career though you don’t know where it’s going to end up. The first step is the hardest,” he said. “I encourage you to continue to dream and work hard.”

Taiese Kidd, human resources manager at Fujifilm, acknowledged that three Greenwood Edge signees are working with Fujifilm, and one just graduated.

“We look for mature, flexible, reliable students who would take this opportunity seriously,” Kidd said, adding that while Fujifilm provides the training, the signees are responsible for bringing drive and determination. “You all have fantastic opportunities in front of you. Embrace them.”

Greenwood County Council Chairman Steve Brown also was on hand to applaud the graduates and new signees.

“We celebrate you as participants in this program,” he said. “Celebrate yourself. Be proud of what you have accomplished at this point. … Greenwood County will be better because of what you are doing today.”

After the induction, two Greenwood Edge graduates – Seth Alexander of Ware Shoals High School and Kayla Harrison of Greenwood High School – gave remarks and answered questions about their experiences. Alexander worked with Fujifilm and Harrison with Lonza.

“I was able to see how the manufacturing process worked at multiple plants,” Alexander said. “I will continue to work at Fujifilm and take some more classes at Piedmont Tech.”

Harrison is the only female in the inaugural cohort and plans to continue working at Lonza.

“This program gives me a chance, while still being at a young age, to gain career experience while still in high school,” she said, adding that she also will continue her education.

Read More

Greenwood Promise receives donation from Fuji Film

Apr 29, 2019 – The Greenwood Promise received a donation towards an original pledge commitment this week, with Fuji Film Manufacturing USA continuing its support to the program.

Todd Croker, President of Fuji Film Manufacturing USA, has been a loyal supporter of The Greenwood Promise, pledging $100,000 in 2016. Their annual donation of $20,000 has been critical in moving The Promise through Phase 1 and will support the initiative of the program into Phase 2. Mr. Croker and Fuji Film Manufacturing USA are invested, not only in The Greenwood Promise but in showing support of Fuji employees and their children, who are currently benefiting or will benefit from the tuition-free path of the program. This support is evident in Mr. Croker’s request to invite some of Fuji’s employees and their children, who are current Greenwood Promise students at Piedmont Technical College, to participate in the annual donation event.

The Greenwood Promise is an educational initiative aimed at increasing the economic growth of Greenwood County by promoting post-secondary

education and thereby ensuring a skilled and educated workforce. The program supports an associate’s degree and will start fundraising for Phase 2, which will provide the opportunity for advancement to a four-year degree for those with the academic ability to succeed, in the coming months.

This initiative enables Greenwood County to be a viable competitor in both industry and community attractiveness by promising all eligible Greenwood County high school graduates tuition assistance.

Read More

Reagan Flooring pledges support to Greenwood Promise

Apr 2, 2019 – The Greenwood Promise gained another new supporter and commitment this week, with Reagan Flooring, LLC, pledging its support to the program.

Jimmy and Cindy Logan, Owners of Reagan Flooring, LLC, pledged $3,000 to the campaign. This pledge brings the Greenwood Promise closer to its Phase 1 goal of $5 million, which continues to provide post-secondary education to all students in Greenwood County. “Reagan Flooring is proud to support the Greenwood Promise and the students of Greenwood County. The best part is that an investment in The Promise stays right here locally, in Greenwood”, stated Jimmy Logan, on choosing to support The Greenwood Promise.

The Greenwood Promise is an educational initiative aimed at increasing the economic growth of Greenwood County by promoting postsecondary education and thereby ensuring a skilled and educated workforce. The average number of Greenwood County students attending a post-secondary institution has risen to 71 percent, passing the state of South Carolina’s average, which is 69 percent.

The program supports an associate’s degree and hopes to provide the opportunity for advancement to a four-year degree for those with the academic ability to succeed.

Read More

R.T. Bailey Construction pledges to Greenwood Promise

Mar 22, 2019 – Todd Bailey, Owner of R.T. Bailey Construction, Inc, pledged $35,250 to the campaign. The pledge is a commitment of $250 per house sold by R.T. Bailey Construction, Inc, the company developing the Milford Pines subdivision, that at completion, will house 141 homes in Greenwood. This pledge brings the Greenwood Promise closer to its Phase 1 goal of $5 million, which continues to provide post-secondary education to all students in Greenwood County.

The Greenwood Promise is an educational initiative aimed at increasing the economic growth of Greenwood County by promoting postsecondary education and thereby ensuring a skilled and educated workforce. The average number of Greenwood County students attending a post-secondary institution has risen to 71%, passing the state of South Carolina’s average, which is 69%.

This initiative enables Greenwood County to be a viable competitor in both industry and community attractiveness by promising all eligible Greenwood County high school graduates tuition assistance.

The program supports an associate’s degree and hopes to provide the opportunity for advancement to a four-year degree for those with the academic ability to succeed.

Read More

Fifth-graders get lesson on Greenwood Promise

Mar 4, 2019 – By ALEKS GILBERT agilbert@indexjournal.com from The Index Journal.

Among the hoped-for benefits of the Greenwood Promise scholarship is higher achievement among the county’s K-12 students. If they know a degree from Piedmont Technical College will be paid for, the thinking goes, they will try harder and perform better in school.

Katie Davenport, the Promise’s new executive director, wants every kid in the county to know about the scholarship. To that end, Davenport has been spreading the Promise’s message in recent weeks, visiting the county’s fifth-graders to let them know they will not have to think about the cost of attending a technical college when deciding whether to apply.

“Raise your hand if you want to go to college!” Davenport asked a class of fifth graders at Ware Shoals Middle School. Most did.

“We are making a promise to you,” Davenport said, “that you can go to Piedmont Technical College and not pay any money.”

In another class, she asked the students whether they had the “magic number,” the tuition that Piedmont Tech charges.

“Millions,” one student said.

“Trillions,” another chimed in.

“That’s the national debt,” said District 51 Superintendent Fay Sprouse, who had dropped by.

While college was at least seven years away for the students, some were clearly interested.

Several students asked whether they could go to any college for free.

Davenport told the students the Promise might eventually pay for the final two years of a degree at Lander. In the meantime, it will only cover the tuition at Piedmont Tech or another technical school within the state, so long as the student is pursuing a degree that Piedmont Tech doesn’t offer.

“Does anyone here want to be a dental hygienist?” Davenport asked.

“What’s that?” a student asked.

“Well let’s pretend like someone here does,” she said. Davenport told the students Piedmont Tech does not offer the program, but Greenville Technical College does; if they wanted to become a dental hygienist, the Promise would cover their tuition at Greenville Tech.

“What if we don’t live in Ware Shoals?” asked one student from Due West. The Promise wouldn’t pay for her degree, Davenport told her because she doesn’t live in Greenwood County. But, she added, the Abbeville Promise, should it meet its fundraising goal, would.

Other advocates of the Promise had gone to schools elsewhere in the county to spread the word. In Ninety Six Elementary School, Brandon Felder, assistant registrar at Lander University, told students they could all go to college. All they had to do were three things:

Make good choices, earn good grades, and graduate from high school.

“Is this for real?” one student asked.

Read More

Kindergartners receive Greenwood Promise medallions

Feb 26, 2019 – Kindergarten students from Ninety Six Primary School received a medallion from The Greenwood Promise’s Executive Director Katie Davenport and The Greenwood Promise’s Board Chair Ron Millender. The medallion is a symbol of a promise that they will be able to attend college, tuition-free when they graduate from high school thanks to Greenwood County residents and businesses who support this initiative through The Greenwood Promise.

Officials: Promise, Edge programs having impact on region’s workforce

Jan 18, 2019 – By ADAM BENSON abenson@indexjournal.com from The Index Journal.

A pair of scholarship programs aimed at giving Greenwood County students broad career opportunities posted rosy numbers that have officials confident for their long-term viability.

Last year, economic development leaders and educators unveiled Greenwood Edge, a dual-enrollment track that allows students to earn a manufacturing production technician certificate through Piedmont Technical College while still in high school.

It’s viewed as a companion to the Greenwood Promise, which offers last dollar financial aid for students graduating high school so they can attend Piedmont Tech at no cost — with future phases paying for tuition at Lander University or another four-year institution where the major is offered.

James Bateman, director of business development for the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, told board members Thursday that the inaugural 19-student Edge cohort has already completed two of their certification tests, with the second planned for this semester.

On top of that, 17 of them have passed the tests with a grade of “C” or better, while eight passed a national quality certification exam — considered the most difficult.

A $2,070 value, the Edge is offered at no cost to students through support from the Greenwood Promise and each of the county’s three school districts. The Promise is a fiscal agent for the Edge, but the programs run separately.

“The object for Edge is to prepare students for industrial jobs, without going to Piedmont Tech — right from high school,” said CPW commissioner Michael Monaghan.

However, Edge students can choose to continue their education, having had completed one semester’s worth of work at Piedmont Tech, Bateman said.

“It expedites either their entry into the workforce or their technical education, so they’re entering at maybe a higher skilled job or higher educational attainment job,” Bateman said.

Three of the 19 students have secured apprenticeships from Fujifilm — all from Ware Shoals High School.

“We also know of the five companies that were official corporate supporters of the program by lending their brand name, were planning requisitions or job openings for the students,” Bateman said. “They’re at least guaranteeing an interview for students that complete the Edge program.”

Those companies are: Ascend Performance Materials, Capsugel, a Lonza company, Fujifilm, Greenwood Mills Inc. and Monti Inc. Manufacturing jobs comprise 26 percent of Greenwood County’s workforce.

High school students enrolled in Edge will get 12 credit hours by taking the following courses: Statistical Process Control, Basic Industrial Skills I, Introduction to Industrial Maintenance, Precision Measurements and Manufacturing Engineering Principles.

Piedmont Tech’s Manufacturing Technician Certificate has a $2,070 value.

Edge was born out of a five-year strategic plan developed by the Partnership Alliance in 2017 that included the creation of a human resources project. After meeting with focus groups that included representation from major manufacturers in the region and trips to other communities with similar initiatives in place, officials crafted a local version.

Greenwood County Council chairman Steve Brown said the body is interested in continuing its financial support for the Edge.

“The county’s very interested in putting some monies into it — and did allocate some for it — and I think we’ll be there again this year,” he said. “We want to participate financially.”

Meanwhile, the Greenwood Promise continues to pay dividends, supporters say. With longtime county teacher Kate Davenport now on board as executive director, building on its popularity is a top goal.

From fall 2016 and fall 2017, Piedmont Tech saw a 38 percent increase in the number of Greenwood County students, with postsecondary participation for high school graduates jumping from 62 percent to 71 percent over that same span.

Read More