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Aerospace engineering classes coming to S.C. high schools

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Six South Carolina high schools will be the first to offer aerospace engineering courses beginning this fall. S.C. Aerospace recommended the curriculum to the State Department of Education.

The courses include aerospace technology and aeronautics engineering, according to a news release.

“Talent development is a top priority for our industry,” said James Stephens, chairman of the SC Aerospace Education Working Group and executive director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. “This curriculum is a great fit for South Carolina’s aerospace industry in particular because it is multi-disciplinary. Students learn aerospace engineering principles and written and oral communication skills through presenting their projects to industry representatives.”

The six schools that will implement the program are:

  • Battery Creek High School in Beaufort.
  • Edisto High School in Cordova.
  • Emerald High School in Greenwood.
  • Pickens County Career and Technology Center in Liberty (2018 – 2019 school year).
  • RB Stall High School in Charleston.
  • Sumter Career and Technology Center in Sumter.

Each of the schools will receive $50,000 from the SC Department of Education to help offset costs of starting the courses.

“We are excited to bring this innovative opportunity to South Carolina schools. These courses not only prepare students for post-secondary success but also teach them critical skills needed to fill jobs in one of our state’s most thriving industries,” said South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, in the release.

The curriculum was developed by the Southern Regional Education Board and has been adopted in schools in five other states across the nation: three in Ohio, two in North Carolina, one in Delaware, one in West Virginia, and two in Alabama.

According to SC Aerospace, students in schools with a block schedule will be able to complete the courses in two years, while students in schools with a traditional schedule will be able to complete the courses in four years. The first generation of students completing the courses could graduate as early as 2019.

“The average total compensation for a private-sector aerospace employee in South Carolina is around $70,000 per year. For young people who may be attracted to this high-tech, steadily growing industry, I can tell you that if you learn skills to work on or around airplanes, it's likely you'll have a well-paid job for life,” said Steve Townes, chairman of SC Aerospace and president and CEO of Ranger Aerospace in Greenville.

SC Aerospace is a part of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

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