On The Move
Swann to fund technical education scholarships with Senate salary
May 30, 2012
GREENVILLE, SC - May 30, 2012 - State Senate candidate Joe Swann announced that he plans to redirect his entire state salary to create a scholarship fund for Greenville Technical College students pursuing degrees in advanced manufacturing skills.
"If South Carolina is to compete on a national and global stage for jobs, then we need to educate a work force to be part of a team in a productive environment," Swann explained. "There are enough manufacturing jobs in Greenville County that we can have a very low unemployment rate if our citizens are willing to get themselves prepared for working in an industrial environment."
Swann has been campaigning on the issue of job creation and education for the past few months - two items that he knows extensively. The son of public school educators, he earned an undergraduate degree in engineering from Clemson University and a master's from Case Western Reserve University, before embarking on a 37-year career that culminated as President of Rockwell Automation Power Systems. He then founded Integrated Power Services, which he chairs and has grown to more than 800 employees in five years.
Swann said South Carolina is at a crossroads economically.
"Almost nine percent of our neighbors are unemployed and many others are no longer looking for work. Our technical colleges must return to their original mission and refocus on training the state's workforce," he said. "A technically trained workforce is absolutely necessary if South Carolina businesses are to grow."
If elected, Swann will invest his $10,400-a-year state Senate salary in technical education scholarships for District 8 residents, who are recent high school graduates, or unemployed or seeking a career change. He would be the only senator in the South Carolina Legislature to forgo his salary.
Swann said the fund will create scholarships with a $1,000 maximum annually to assist Greenville Technical College students seeking advanced manufacturing careers such as mechatronics, machining, welding and manufacturing production. Many of these courses can be completed in less than a year and cost less than $1,000. Greenville Technical College will try to help with further financial assistance to aid students receiving the Swann Scholarship.
Jim Morton, the chairman of the Greenville Tech Foundation, said Swann's pledge is appreciated and shows his willingness to be a true public servant.
"Joe Swann sees a need and he is ready to fill it," Morton said. "That is important for South Carolina going forward."
Swann said the scholarship pledge is about helping students become productive workers so they can provide for their families, help South Carolina businesses add jobs and help draw new job creators to the state. Too many times, companies that come to South Carolina hire workers from other states because residents here do not have the proper skills.
There are numerous job openings in Upstate industries and not enough candidates to fill these jobs, Swann said. He is hopeful that these scholarships will encourage unemployed citizens in District 8 to attend Greenville Tech and get themselves prepared for the excellent jobs that are available in the Upstate.
"We live in a special part of the world and there are great people in the Upstate. They are proud, hardworking, and prefer to be self-reliant," he said. "Unfortunately many of our unemployed citizens do not have the education or training to work in an industrial job."