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Midlands Tech program named best collaboration

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Midlands Technical College’s Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands (BOOM) program has been named the best collaborative and innovative program at state technical colleges by the S.C. State Technical College System.

BOOM is a construction job training program for high school students with disabilities that works with local school districts and member companies of the Builders Industry Association of Central S.C., according to a news release. Students still in high school learn skills through the program that help them find employment with area homebuilders.

MTC president Ron Rhames (left) and MTC provost Barrie Kirk (right) accept the S.C. Technical College System award for team innovation from S.C. Technical Education Association president Latesha McComas. (Photo/Provided)“The A. Wade Martin award is designed to recognize our true innovators,” Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Technical College System, said in the release. “The work of the BOOM program team perfectly captures the spirit of the award. The team didn't see a challenge but instead an opportunity to fulfill our mission in a creative and innovative way.”

Students in the program earn a 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration construction credential and a certificate in building construction from MTC.

“Our team met with partners in the industry and in our school districts,” MTC president Ron Rhames said. “We recognized the need to come up with a solution to solve the skilled worker shortage in the Midlands construction industry. Another issue was the growing number of high school students who were on an educational track that would not earn them a high school diploma or a GED. Through the BOOM program, we responded to both challenges with a single solution.”

BOOM received an innovation grant from the S.C. Department of Education and Workforce that will help expand the program to more students. It was also named the program of the year by the S.C. Division on Career Development and Transition and the 2018 Outstanding Continuing Education Cooperative Program by the S.C. Association for Higher Continuing Education.

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