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NOW Program Underway in SDOC

posted Nov 10, 2016, 7:28 AM by Deb WICKLIFFE   [ updated Nov 10, 2016, 7:30 AM ]
SDOC kicked off the NOW (Nurturing Oconee’s Workforce) program earlier this month at BorgWarner in Seneca. This week, the select NOW participants made a workplace visit to Just Aircraft in Walhalla. Just Aircraft specializes in the design and manufacture of STOL light aircraft in the form of kits for amateur construction and complete ready-to-fly light-sport aircraft. 

The NOW students were led on a tour of the facility by manager Pierce (Buddy) Bargeron and Jack Kesler, an aircraft builder. The tour led the students through the entire process of building the aircraft and highlighted the technical skills needed to perform certain jobs in the process. 

“We want our students to be aware of the countless career opportunities out there in the manufacturing field,” said Chad Lusk, Director of the Hamilton Career Center. “For this visit we wanted our students to understand that the only limiting factor to what they can do with their technical skills is their own imagination. What better way to highlight creativity and innovation than to show the students that there are people right here in Oconee County building, flying and selling planes all over the world!” 

The state’s profile of the South Carolina graduate has identified many skills and abilities as essential for success in the new economy. The mission of SDOC’s NOW program is to identify and develop these world-class skills and characteristics. 

The Skills identified during this visit were creativity and innovation. Students were able to see engineering, welding and machining from a whole new perspective. 

The highlight of the tour was when Troy Woodland, a Just Aircraft partner, took off on site and showed the students what the planes look like in action. 

The NOW program is a joint partnership between the School District of Oconee County and the Oconee Economic Alliance. The NOW inaugural class consists of 30 juniors attending local SDOC high schools, 10 from each high school, who were selected through an application and nomination process. 

NOW is unique to Oconee County, as students are able to participate in monthly off-campus meetings that address advanced employment skills. NOW is the SDOC/OEA’s joint venture aimed at addressing the skills gap that exists within our current workforce.