Six high schools across South Carolina will offer new aerospace engineering classes beginning this fall, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Education.
Battery Creek High School in Beaufort, Edisto High School in Cordova, Emerald High School in Greenwood, Pickens County Career and Technology Center in Liberty, RB Stall High School in North Charleston and Sumter Career and Technology Center will offer the aerospace curriculum, the news release said.
Courses will focus on the design and flight of aircraft and spacecraft; they will include fundamentals of aerospace technology, advanced aerospace technology, aeronautics engineering application and astronautics engineering applications, the news release said.
“Talent development is a top priority for our industry,” said James Stephens, executive director of the S.C. Aeronautics Commission, in the news release. “This curriculum is a great fit for South Carolina’s aerospace industry in particular because it is multidisciplinary. Students learn aerospace engineering principles and written and oral communication skills through presenting their projects to industry representatives.”
The six schools will receive $50,000 from the S.C. Department of Education to cover startup costs of the new courses.
Students in schools with a block schedule can complete the courses in two years, and those following a traditional schedule can complete them in four years, the news release said.
“This is a perfect example of how Team South Carolina can collaborate to make our companies and our citizens more competitive,” S.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in the news release. “Business leaders worked together with educators on this project to develop the next generation of aerospace talent right here in South Carolina.”
The Southern Regional Education Board developed the curriculum (.pdf), which has been adopted in schools in five other states. The curriculum was recommended to the state Education Department by S.C. Aerospace, which is supported by the S.C. Council on Competitiveness and the Commerce Department.
“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 S.C. Aerospace and president and CEO of Ranger Aerospace in Greenville.