Expanding career-focused courses to high school students in Colleton County

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) – Cybersecurity, nail tech and even E-Sports — these are just some of the courses that will be added to Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center next semester.

Colleton County High School allows students to take career-focused classes during their schedules at Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center.

Some of the current courses at TCTC are carpentry, culinary arts and welding. Starting next semester, TCTC will have HVAC, cybersecurity, nail tech, barbering, E-Sports and sports medicine classes as well as restarting their auto tech program.

“Workforce development is really where we need to go for our high schoolers,” Colleton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Vallerie Cave said. “They either need to be enrolled in college, enlisted in the armed services, be an entrepreneur or be employed. So, those are the options that I wanted to provide for them.”

Cave says they are using current staff members and are in the process of hiring more people for these programs.

She says the district is currently preparing architectural designs for the building expansion to provide more space for these classes. She says they are using ESSER-funding, the COVID-19 emergency relief money from the federal government, for the cost of construction.

Although there is no official price estimate as of now, she expects it to cost the district about $40,000.

William Bowman Jr., chairman of Colleton County School Board, says he is excited for students to have these options.

“But I’ve never had so many people call me, and they were absolutely enthusiastic about using our programs at our TCTC,” Bowman said. “So, kudos to you and your staff members for going out and looking for those new avenues that our students can take. There’s proof that there’s interest in this community.”

Cave says non-public school students will be offered to take these classes with an additional charge. However, the priority will go to students currently enrolled at Colleton County High School.