IRMO – One Lexington-Richland School District Five student was among the nine students who graduated from a collaborative job-training program at Midlands Technical College (MTC) called Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands (BOOM). The graduates were honored during a graduation ceremony recently.
BOOM features high school students with disabilities from School District Five, Richland One and Richland Two in a semester-long course where they learn construction and special events planning at MTC airport campus.
The graduate from School District Five was Kelsea Jackson (Dutch Fork High).
Dr. Angie Slatton, School District Five director of Special Services, describes the program as an exemplary model of how partnerships can lead to better opportunities for students. “I am so proud of BOOM and of all the graduates! It is a model program for transition services. It focuses on industry need and student interests.”
Working with Richland School District One, Richland School District Two, and Lexington-Richland School District Five, MTC developed the program with member companies of the BIA, the Midlands Education and Business Alliance, the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and South Carolina Works.
Once enrolling in MTC’s BOOM Program, high functioning high school students with disabilities receive hands-on, real-world experience in the construction field, earn a 10-hour OSHA Construction Credential and a Certificate in Building Construction. This is the fourth consecutive class offered. Special Events was also taught for the first time this semester. Special Events Planning students all worked toward their Servsafe certification.
MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames said the program is defining new pathways for students to find employment and is helping to fulfill MTC’s mission to address critical workforce needs.
“Completing this program is not an end, but a beginning for these students and their dreams,” Rhames said. “The valuable skills they have acquired will help them achieve those dreams. The BOOM program is already proving successful, as many of these graduates already had interviews and job commitments.”
There were a total of three classes offered this year including Construction 1 in the fall, Construction 2 and Special Events Planning were offered second semester. This was the first year offering Special Events and Construction 2.
BOOM has improved and expanded the delivery of educational services at MTC. It is defining new pathways for students to find employment and is helping to fulfill the college’s mission to fill critical workforce needs. Students gain self-esteem, believe that they can do the work, and prove they are capable of being valuable employees.
The South Carolina State Technical College System awarded the BOOM Program the A. Wade Martin Innovation Team of the Year Award last year, citing it as the best collaborative and innovative program at any of South Carolina’s technical colleges. BOOM also won the Program of the Year Award from the South Carolina Division on Career Development and Transition and the 2018 Outstanding Continuing Education Cooperative Program by the South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education.