The impact of the SCTCS and the Technical Colleges is statewide. For example, the System provides a cumulative economic impact in South Carolina of nearly $2.5 billion. For each dollar the state invests in the System, it sees a return of $12.10. The SC Technical College System responds to critical workforce demands, and is providing graduates in critical workforce areas for the state, improving overall quality of life and enhancing economic development. As an example, nearly one-third of the graduates from SC's Technical Colleges in recent years were in Health Sciences - a critical workforce area. Starting salaries for healthcare workers begin between $30,000 and $45,000 - exceeding the state's per capita income of $28,353. Within recent years, the System's Colleges increased ADN graduates by 33%, and PN graduates by 44%. In addition, two-thirds of the new associate degree programs adopted by Colleges for Spring and Fall 2007 focused on healthcare. Other areas seeing increases in the number of graduates include:
South Carolina workers with associate degrees earn approximately $11,000 more than those with a high school diploma, increasing per capita income. The System, through its Center for Accelerated Technology Training (CATT) and its 16 Technical Colleges, is an integral part of the state's economic development efforts. In 2005-2006, CATT was involved in 110 new and expanding economic development projects across the state. This fiscal year, CATT is slated to train more that 5,600 workers. Because of CATT, South Carolina was recently ranked 5th in a list of states with top workforce development programs.
One of the greatest challenges in developing and maintaining the new economy workforce is the need to constantly evolve, re-tool and refine educational and training options. The rate of change that businesses need to accommodate today is exponentially greater than in the past-and that translates directly into the needs of the workforce that supports those businesses. South Carolina's educational rankings, however, indicate many of our citizens may not be positioned to participate in more highly skilled jobs. For instance, South Carolina ranks last in the nation in the percentage of adults over 25 who have a high school diploma.