Study shows changes needed in area; Aiken Tech looking to help fill gap

CSRA News

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — A study conducted on the City of Aiken earlier this year shows a number of changes coming to the area. Aiken’s aging population increasing, a demand for housing, and major employers concentrated in the energy, education, and manufacturing sectors were points made on the list.

Aiken Technical College is looking to help fill the gap.

“Our job is to put people to work,” Dr. Forest E. Mahan told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Dr. Mahan is the President of the college. He says the school, by design, is meant to very adaptive in getting people in and out. Helping to add to the workforce more quickly. One of the largest programs they are focusing on is healthcare.  The team is now developing a physical therapy assistance program.

“Because in many respects, we are beginning to see longer living individuals who healthcare is just maintenance.  They are leading very active lives. So physical therapy assistance are very vital,” Dr. Mahan said.

With the U.S. Government choosing Fort Gordon as the new cyber headquarters, it’s expected to have long term impacts on the region.  The college has beefed up it’s cyber program adding an extra layer.

“So that we are able to help train individuals to help maybe get them those entry-level jobs or put them on a pathway,” Dr. Mahan added.

With employment concentrated in the healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, school leaders put their heads together to figure out how to make the workforce stronger.

“We applied for and received a grant from ManuFirst SC which is design specifically to give an individual 62 hours of credentialing.  Companies in the area are willing to take that certificate as one year of advanced manufacturing experience which then can open the door for an individual,” Dr. Mahan shared. SC Commerce’s website calls the program “a first-of-its kind workforce initiative” – developed to provide South Carolina residents a more streamlined path to a fulfilling career and to attract a more qualified talent pool to our manufacturing industry, faster. 

For more information the school, programs, and financial aid that is available for students, visit: AikenTech.edu.

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