STEM, CCTC and the future

STEM, Central Carolina Technical College and the future

There is a shift in education taking place today. It is a move toward science, technology, engineering and math, better known as STEM. These four areas of study are where emerging, well-paying, high-demand careers lie. To better prepare the workers of tomorrow, schools today are redesigning their curriculum to foster a solid foundation of STEM. Central Carolina Technical College is a supporter and producer of STEM education and careers. Two model examples of STEM careers that CCTC offers are mechatronics and nursing. Both occupations require a high level of understanding and integration of science, technology, engineering and math.

The U.S. Department of Education states, “The United States has developed as a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering and math—subjects collectively known as STEM.” (

To keep up the momentum and stay abreast of the times, CCTC partners closely with local and national industries to find out what they seek in their future employees. Companies like Boeing, Continental Tire of the Americas, LLC, Nucor Building Systems and Palmetto Health Tuomey are looking for a pipeline of ready-to-go, skilled workers to keep their companies operating and to advance up the corporate ladder. These companies describe jobs are that based in STEM. To address this demand CCTC continually adds programs, such as mechatronics, to provide a ready workforce. The opening of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center (AMTTC) in 2015, shows CCTC’s commitment to being at the forefront of the engineering and industrial career field. The state-of-art Health Sciences Center provides CCTC students with simulated work environments and hands-on internships, therefore producing graduates who are ready, experienced and comfortable to work in their chosen profession.

The only challenge lies in producing students who are college and career ready upon graduation from high school. High school graduates need to be problem solvers rather than problem doers; doers memorize information while solvers learn the content and have the ability to properly apply it to solve a problem. STEM is important for students, but it’s imperative today for our local and national workforce to be able to compete in the world marketplace. The great news is we are working towards that goal. Locally, middle schools are adding STEM to the regular curriculum to give sixth through eighth graders the opportunity to explore STEM through a variety of electives. Also at the middle school level, teachers and counselors are helping eighth graders plan their high school course of study based on STEM career options.

Central Carolina Technical College also sees the importance of building a strong foundation in it’s future students. One approach is offering Dual Enrollment for qualified high school juniors and seniors. Benefits of starting college while still in high school are plentiful. High school students can jump start their college career while gaining true college experience. This can ease the, sometimes difficult, transition from high school to college. Additionally, CCTC introduced it’s Central Carolina Scholars Program this year, which provides two years of tuition-free education to high school graduates of Sumter county. In theory, a dual enrolled high school student could graduate from high school with two years of credits from CCTC and continue on to finish an associate degree in less than two years!

CCTC credits its on-going growth and relevance to it’s partnerships with area industries and schools. The college is committed to providing a ready workforce as well as meeting the needs of it’s transfer students. With the addition of STEM into middle school curriculum, and options such as Dual Enrollment for high school juniors and seniors, students can graduate college and career ready. Education is essential in life and so is finding a rewarding career. CCTC is ready to help students find out how much they can accomplish. See for yourself at