CCSD official cites Charleston-area skills gap

CCSD official cites Charleston-area skills gap
October 18 21:12 2017 Print This Article

Rich Gordon, Executive Director for Career Development for the Charleston County School District, told a North Charleston technical education advisory committee that our students and young adults are not being equipped for the jobs in demand. Gordon stated that high-paying jobs in information technology, manufacturing, heating and air conditioning maintenance (HVAC) and other industrial fields are being filled by out of state workers.

The committee, led by Charleston County School Board member Kevin Hollinshead, along with his North Area colleagues Cindy Coats and Rev. Chris Collins, met to discuss the site location for the proposed $42.7 Million North Charleston Center for Advanced Studies, a technical training center. The sites being considered are the current North Charleston High School football stadium, a practice field at Stall High School, and the football stadium at Garrett Academy of Technology, which currently serves as a county-wide vocational high school. While the majority of participants in the 25-member committee favored the Garrett site, no decision was reached.

Rev. Ed McClain, Pastor of the Calvary AME Church in the neck area, opined that Garrett has been neglected for years and never got the support it needed from the Charleston County School District to attract better programs and more students. Beverly Birch, McClain’s colleague on the Inter-denominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), stated that the school district is 20 years behind where it needs to be in preparing students for the jobs in demand. “We have not ordered new equipment or added new courses,” she said. “Let’s do what’s best for the children!” Garrett advocate Jesse Williams pointed out that Garrett has dropped programs in information technology, sheet metal fabrication, carpentry and HVAC in recent years.

Other issues were discussed concerning traffic, tearing down football fields and the ability of students from rival schools in North Charleston to get along. Hollinshead asked members of the committee, including County Councilman Teddie Pryor and North Charleston City Councilman Bob King, to e-mail their preferences for site location to the School Board members and that the committee will reconvene next week and reach a consensus.