Piedmont Technical College’s governing board voted to approve two new certificates and eliminate one at their monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The certificates approved were for advanced welding and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Area Commissioner George Cone Jr. said the advanced welding certificate would help Piedmont Tech’s students find a job after leaving the college.
Many students enrolled an associate degree in welding, he said, took the welding courses but not general education courses like English or math that were required for completion of the degree. Although they would have the skills to work as a welder, they wouldn’t have the degree to show potential employers, which often hampered their ability to find a job.
“At some point in time, this may kind of vanish on its own,” he said of the associate degree.
The HVAC certificate is another means of getting people into the workforce as quickly as possible, said Jack Bagwell, director of academic affairs.
“We brought to you an (HVACR) installer certificate last year,” he told the Area Commission. “This is one step even below that (to) help people get into the workforce earlier, but it also (gives) students who are in a dual enrollment environment the ability to finish a college certificate while they’re still in high school.”
Meanwhile, the computerized numerical control certificate, which the Area Commission voted to terminate, had “run its course,” Bagwell.
Students in the program were not eligible for federal funding, while those in a similar program at Piedmont Tech are. Updating the latter to include information taught in the former would be easier, Bagwell said, than tweaking the CNC certificate to make it eligible for those federal funds. In other business, Piedmont Tech is working with longtime partner South Carolina State University to establish an articulation agreement, whereby students from the former could seamlessly transfer into the latter’s new mechatronic engineering bachelor degree program, which they would complete in Greenwood.
Bagwell said that Piedmont Tech is also discussing articulation agreements with Anderson University and Augusta University.