ECPI University Press Releases: Press Releases

ECPI University and Dorchester District 2 Partner to Develop STEM Workforce

Through new dual enrollment agreement, local high school students earn college credit and industry certifications to ensure college and/or work readiness

Charleston, SC – Approximately 75 Dorchester School District 2 high school students will begin bridging the STEM talent gap in Charleston, taking accredited college-level courses in Computer and Information Science through a unique dual-enrollment agreement with ECPI University. The program, which begins July 7, will focus on providing these students with work readiness skills while conferring college credit and preparing them for nationally-recognized, in-demand industry certifications.

This hands-on education will not only prepare students to enter college, but will also allow them to earn certifications needed to directly enter the workforce—all without cost to parents or students. ECPI University will donate a large portion of the course costs. In exchange, the District will cover the direct costs of training its students. Students must pass the Compass university entrance exam to participate.

“We want to be a workforce development partner to the Charleston community and look forward to partnering with Dorchester 2 to develop tomorrow’s talent, today,” said James Weaver, ECPI University, Charleston Campus President.

Eligible students will begin an introductory 5-week Computer and Information Science course this summer at their home high school. Subsequent courses will be offered at the traditional 9-week Dorchester 2 schedule this fall. In total, students will be eligible to take nine courses, one each term, over the next two years.  Students will be eligible to receive the following certifications: CompTIA’s Network+, Security+, A+ and Cloud Essentials.

Superintendent Joe Pye stated, "We are absolutely thrilled to partner with ECPI University in this endeavor.  The preparation of a viable workforce is a priority for our organization.   Working together to provide work-ready candidates, especially in the area of information technology, is exactly what educational institutions should be doing."

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ECPI University Looks to Bridge Manufacturing Skills Gap

Charleston’s First Mechatronics Program Will Help Develop Skill Sets Unique to Advanced Manufacturing Environment

Charleston, SCMechatronics. It’s a name that many find unfamiliar but it encompasses a specific set of skills that many Charleston manufacturers say they urgently need. Simply put, mechatronics is a blend of all the professional disciplines used in today’s advanced manufacturing environment – computer information systems, electronic and mechanical engineering technology, and control systems.

The good news is that Charleston’s manufacturing sector is growing. The challenge for employers, however, is finding enough employees with the skills required to do the jobs. According to the SC Department of Commerce, South Carolina has recruited more than $19 billion in capital investment resulting in more than 64,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector between 2008 and 2013.

In addition to these new jobs, other vacancies are occurring because many existing employees in this sector are expected to retire soon. According to census data, approximately 20% of South Carolina manufacturing employees are eligible for retirement in 5-10 years.

“The employers spoke and we listened,” says ECPI University Charleston Campus President James Weaver. “We engaged all the region’s major manufacturers in a discussion. They all agree that Charleston needs a mechatronics program. A student with this kind of degree can be ideally suited to work in today’s highly-technical manufacturing environment.  Gone are the days of hot, dirty factories filled with unskilled manual laborers. They’ve been replaced with robots, computers, and programmable logic controllers. Skilled professionals are needed to manage all that.”

ECPI University’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechatronics will focus on core areas such as:

  • Applied Mechanics
  • Programmable Controllers
  • Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  • Testing and Measuring Instruments
  • Computer Hardware and Software
  • Materials Science
  • Analog/Digital Electronics and Communications
  • Automation and Control Systems
  • Computer Programming Networks
  • Microcontrollers

For more information or to schedule a campus visit, contact Charleston Campus President James Weaver at 843.414.0350 or jweaver@ecpi.edu. To learn more about ECPI University, please visit www.ecpi.edu.

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Chesterfield Resident Finishes College in 2 Years

Dual-Enrollment/Accelerated Program Helps Criminal Justice Grad Start Her Career in Half the Time

Richmond, VA – First she wants to be a police officer, then it’s off to the FBI. At least that’s the plan for Courtney Strain. The young Chesterfield resident is certainly ambitious. She began her college career when she was still in high school through Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Dual Enrollment Program with ECPI University.

Between her early credits and attending ECPI University year-round, she was able to graduate in just two years with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Attending school for two straight years with no breaks was certainly demanding but it has paid off. “My parents are very proud of me for all of my hard work and diligence to get through this program,” says Courtney. “They are very much my support group. They can't believe how fast the time went by and honestly I can't believe it either.

“My experience with ECPI would not have been the same if it wasn't for the faculty and the amazing students I got to know. We all lean on each other and push each other through when we get burnt out. This program can be challenging but when you have professors giving you positive feedback and friends sharing the same experiences, it refuels my fire and drive to keep going.”

Graduation will be held on Friday, June 13 at the Siegel Center, located at 1200 W. Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia beginning at 1:00 pm. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

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