Midlands Technical College awarded $5 million from US Department of Labor

Grant to provide education, training and job placement assistance in high-growth fields

Columbia, SC — Midlands Technical College (MTC) has been awarded $5 million from the US Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration, to fund the college’s Growing Resources for Information Technology (GRIT) program. The program will build a training infrastructure to high-growth, high-demand information technology (IT) occupations for unemployed veterans, minorities, women and others through a technical skills program that includes on-the-job training for all participants.

MTC is one of only 43 awardees in the country to receive a grant through this highly competitive process. The $5 million awarded to MTC is the maximum dollar amount awarded by the DOL to any college in the country.

The Growing Resources for Information Technology program will target the unemployed – primarily veterans, women, minorities and others who have work experience or education in information technology. Students will receive GRIT training through Midlands Technical College’s Corporate and Continuing Education Division, as well as on-the-job training with area partner employers. Nearly 75 percent of the grant funds will be used for student scholarships, books, and on-the-job training.

MTC expanded the service area of the grant in partnership with Central Carolina Technical College to seven counties representing 20 percent of the state’s population, 22 percent of the veteran population, and nearly 43,100 unemployed workers, 500 of which are displaced IT workers with some college education. Commuting patterns of workers show a strong connection between the two economic regions.

Midlands Technical College has many of the Southeast’s most comprehensive computer and IT training programs for adult learners. This grant funding will give the college a tremendous advantage in recruiting, screening, educating and placing the best-trained employees into insurance and health care information technology jobs.

The Midlands region of South Carolina processes more health insurance claims than anywhere else in the United States (two million per day). This has helped transform the region into a global insurance technology hub, spawning more than 30 unique insurance-related subsidiaries, and attracting ten new computer systems design and service firms seeking to tap into the insurance technology market. The region is also home to three significant military bases and the SC National Guard headquarters. The SC Army National Guard, Service Member and Family Care office, was a major contributor to the program design and will be instrumental in recruiting veterans for the program.

“Our regional partners in the insurance and health care industries continue to have difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill these important positions,” said Cathy Pitts, Executive Director of Programs, MTC Corporate and Continuing Education Division. “In some cases, the shortage has become critical.”

Regional employers in insurance and health care IT departments confirm they anticipate needing nearly 2,200 new and replacement IT workers over the next four years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of nearly 4,900 by 2018. The grant will provide training exclusively for the three occupations in highest demand among insurance and health care industries: programmer analysts, computer network support specialists and network and data communication analysts. These three occupations and associated career pathways account for nearly three out of every four job openings in the local insurance and health care industries.

Partners in the Growing Resources for Information Technology program include members of the Insurance Technology and Services cluster (iTs|SC), Palmetto Health, IT-oLogy, EngenuitySC, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Information Technology Council, the City of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the City of Columbia Economic Development Office, the Greater Columbia Area Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates, the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, the University of South Carolina’s Insurance and Risk Management Program, Agape Senior Care, Clarendon Health System, Tuomey Healthcare System, SC National Guard, regional military bases, the Midlands Workforce Development Board and the Santee-Lynches Workforce Investment Board, and the Midlands and Santee-Lynches Regional Education Centers. There are a total of 18 employer partners from the IT and health care industries that will provide on-the-job training and employment opportunities for students.

Midlands Technical College is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving the primary region of Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The college enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually, and provides continuing education to 30,000 individuals and hundreds of area businesses each year. MTC is the largest provider of transfer students to the University of South Carolina. www.midlandstech.edu

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