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Greenville Technical College president awarded state’s highest honor

Ross Norton //May 19, 2023//

Greenville Technical College president awarded state’s highest honor

Ross Norton //May 19, 2023//

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The president of Greenville Technical College was presented the Order of the Palmetto on May 17.

Greenville Technical College Area Commission Chair Ray Lattimore (left) presents the Order of the Palmetto to President Keith Miller. (Photo/Provided)The award is presented in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service and contributions on a national or statewide scale.

“Keith Miller stands out for the innovative approaches he takes to clearing the path for business and industry, creating solutions that keep doors open, allow for expansion, and encourage employers to locate to our area,” State Rep. Bruce Bannister, who nominated Miller for the honor, said in a news release. “He has taken the college he leads to a level of excellence that has an enormous impact on the Upstate and South Carolina.”

Miller and Greenville Technical College are frequently cited as key tools in the economic development toolbox that has helped attract industry to the Upstate and state.

“When advanced manufacturing employers were hampered by a gap between the skills needed and existing capabilities within the workforce, the idea for reimagined education for the manufacturing sector was born,” said the Greenville Tech news release. “Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, which opened in 2016, has changed the way students prepare to enter the workforce in mechatronics, CNC machining and CAD design, with classes featuring project-based learning that has a real-world focus, and teams solving manufacturing problems in conjunction with Clemson University engineering students.”

Miller also was a key player in gaining approval and developing the first four-year degree awarded by the South Carolina Technical College System.

Manufacturers expressed a need for candidates to fill technical and managerial leadership positions who could build upon a two-year degree, adding knowledge that would prepare them to improve plant performance and efficiency, lead interdisciplinary teams, and manage complex design and process improvement projects, the release stated.

Miller and his team worked with political leaders to gain approval for legislation that Gov Henry McMaster signed into law in 2018, allowing South Carolina’s technical colleges to offer an applied bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing technology. GTC pioneered the program, launching the degree four years ago and growing it each year since.

The college also cited Miller’s leadership in a partnership with Prisma Health, the No. 1 employer of Greenville Technical College graduates. The partnership has led to a construction project under way now at the center of campus, funded in part by a $1.5 million gift from the health care system.

The Prisma Health Center for Health & Life Sciences will serve as a campus hub, welcoming 150,000 visitors annually and serving all of the 500-plus health science graduates the college contributes to the local workforce each year, the release stated.

When Greenville’s restaurants and hotels sought entry-level employees, Miller matched that challenge with those of an underserved area in west Greenville. The solution is the Truist Culinary and Hospitality Innovation Center, which provides a path to employment for many people while building a pipeline of qualified employees for the hospitality industry.

“Keith has changed the educational landscape in South Carolina since he moved to the state to

lead Greenville Technical College in 2008,” nominator Craig Brown, owner and president of the Greenville Drive baseball team. “I have observed his passion for serving the needs of our community, including the needs of our employers. He has a relentless desire to provide students with relevant job skills that translate into meaningful careers.”

Established by then Gov. John C. West in 1971, the Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.