The CTE Innovation Center $12.7 million, 29,145 square foot facility is scheduled to open in August 2023 and will be located on the Roper Mountain Science Center campus, 402 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville.
“The Innovation Center will be the first in the state to offer emerging automotive research and one of few offering aerospace technology, cybersecurity/networking, clean energy technology and automation, and robotics, all of which give students a competitive advantage for the future workforce,” said Katie Porter, program director for the center.
The Innovation Center will cater to students with an interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, presenting real-world settings where students will learn problem-solving and collaboration. While the other four CTE centers serve students at nearby high schools, the Innovation Center will serve all students in Greenville County high schools.
The center will join four others in the career and technical education program:
Porter said the faculty will have experience in the subject matter they are teaching as well.
“We’re listening to industry,” she said, adding that she doesn’t anticipate the teacher shortage having much of an impact in the hiring process. “There’s always someone out there looking to make a difference.”
Internships will be available
Students may drive to the campus, or they’ll have bus transportation. Porter said the classes will be elective and integrated into the block scheduling. Moreover, students will take general education classes at their main school.
Porter said the departments have relationships with the business community in Greenville County, so students may be able to work internships at BMW, Michelin or any number of local businesses in the STEM fields.
The programs available will prepare students for post-secondary education in two- and four-year schools, and they will get an idea of what it’s like to participate in a global workforce. Students will also learn soft skills like punctuality and behaving in a professional environment.
The center is just one part of the “Graduation Plus” initiative GCS has rolled out to give students a boost going into the military, the workforce or higher education.
“This center is a pinnacle example of our Graduation Plus initiative. Giving our students access to innovative pathways at the forefront of college- and career-readiness,” Superintendent Burke Royster said.
Students in these programs will be able to pursue high-wage STEM careers such as:
- Engineering (aerospace, automotive, civil, mechanical, software).
- Information technology.
- Solar power.
- Technical solutions.