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How the University of South Carolina is preparing its future workforce for success

Krys Merryman //July 26, 2023//

How the University of South Carolina is preparing its future workforce for success

Krys Merryman //July 26, 2023//

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As preparing the future workforce entails more technology such as digital transformation and artificial intelligence, an important question is: what is going to happen to the number of jobs?

Michael Amiridis, University of South Carolina president, became the 30th president of the university on July 1, 2022.  (Photo/University of South Carolina)This is a question University of South Carolina President Michael Amiridis posed at a Greenville Area Development Corp. luncheon in Greenville on Tuesday.

“Manufacturing and tourism have changed Greenville,” he said, referring to a shift from the city’s once-booming textile industry.

Now, one of the main goals of the university is to strengthen workforce development in the state and create more jobs, he said.

For 220 years, the University of South Carolina has been “building the future of the state,” Amiridis said, by educating the next generation and providing solutions to improve the quality of life for South Carolinians.

The university has created a certificate program that anyone with a high school diploma can earn by taking four courses in digital skills — two of the courses are foundational, such as basic web development and cybersecurity, and the other two are more “digital-specific.” The program will be offered starting this fall.

“What could have taken a few years took a few months,” said Amiridis, because demand for it was high and the process to get it approved through the university system was steadfast.

The university also offer more opportunities for students to work during their studies.

A $4 million incentive from the General Assembly was approved, providing an extra $3,000 to any student who accepts an in-state job in a high-demand field such as a STEM career or health care. This was an incentive primarily offered to keep students in the South Carolina workforce, keeping jobs in the state, said Amiridis.

Another initiative by the university includes the creation of its innovation hub with a focus on startups.

Located within the University’s McNair Aerospace Center, The Innovation Experience Hub provides faculty and students with the ability to discover and demonstrate proven, production-ready industry solutions. Those industry sectors include health care, civil infrastructure and manufacturing.

Amiridis became the 30th president of the University of South Carolina on July 1, 2022. Prior to joining the administration in Columbia, he served as chancellor of the University of Illinois-Chicago since 2015.

During his tenure at UIC, the school completed a successful capital campaign that raised more than $750 million and saw six years of record campus enrollment, while winning national accolades for attracting an increasingly diverse student population.

Since 2011, the Greenville Area Development Corp. has helped spur more than $7 billion of economic growth in the Upstate with more than 36,000 jobs created, said GADC President and CEO Mark Farris, with the help of partners like the University of South Carolina and Clemson University.