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This release prepared by the Office of Enrollment Systems and Community Outreach.
Rebecca Eidson, Director, 646-1507,
Lisa Garrett, Public Relations Associate, 646-1506,
Laura Martin, Public Relations Assistant, 646-1817,

Tri-County Breaks New Ground with New Collaborative Initiatives


(By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College broke new ground this year by launching several collaborative initiatives, all aimed at bringing the College closer to its goal of becoming a role model in community college education, President Ronnie L. Booth told a crowd of business, industrial, education, government and political leaders at the College’s Annual Report Luncheon.

Guests received a 38-page annual report that highlights the major College and Foundation accomplishments of 2005 - 2006.

President Booth outlined a series of firsts for the College made possible though collaborations, technology, educational opportunities and partnerships:

•  The vision for a campus convenient to the Anderson County community became a reality last December when officials broke ground on the future site of the College's first branch campus.

Located on a 38.95-acre piece of property near the intersection of Standridge Road and Michelin Boulevard, the planned facility will be approximately 42,000 square feet and will include general classrooms for both credit and non-credit programs, computer and science labs, conference rooms, office space, kitchen facilities, and more. The classroom at the Anderson Mall will be relocated to the Anderson site.

•  Bridge to Clemson, a first of its kind in South Carolina, is an invitation-only program that blends the traditional academic experience at Tri-County with the social and cultural experiences of being a Clemson University student.  Two hundred and thirty five recent high school students who narrowly missed admission to Clemson because of limited space and high demand entered the program this fall. 

The program offers select Tri-County students a university experience and
seamless transition to Clemson for the sophomore year.  Bridge students must earn 30 transfer credits at Tri-County during their two semesters and transfer to Clemson with a 2.5 GPA.  They live in an apartment complex, The Heritage at Riverwood, and can travel fare free to classes via Clemson Area Transit (CAT) buses.

•  This fall Tri-County’s Gateway to College program enrolled 50 students who will begin the journey of earning their high school diploma while simultaneously earning a postsecondary credential.  The College’s Gateway to College program is designed to serve at-risk students and recent high school dropouts in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.

Tri-County was among four community colleges in the United States selected to receive grants from Portland Community College in Oregon to implement the nationally recognized Gateway to College program on its campus.  Its purpose is to serve the needs of students who have recently dropped out of high school or who have the academic capability but are struggling in a traditional high school environment.  Students' tuition is covered by South Carolina Lottery Tuition Assistance and other College and grant programs, and the College’s Foundation, along with the Workforce Investment Act grant, is funding the books.

•  This past summer Tri-County became the first community college in the country to acquire a surgical simulator and integrate it into its Surgical Technology clinical procedures.  The simulator allows students to practice dexterity skills used in laparoscopic surgeries in the OR, enhancing their confidence and promoting proficiency in a safe environment.  

Earlier in 2006, the Veterinary Technology Department was the only community college program in the United States chosen to receive Pepper, a prototype canine simulator used to teach anesthesia techniques to veterinary students. The other canine models are located at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine and at the University of California at Davis College of Veterinary Medicine.  Pepper, the simulcast head of a grown Labrador Retriever, will be invaluable in teaching canine intubation skills by giving students more confidence in handling emergency situations before they work with live animals. 

These are just two of the five cutting-edge teaching tools, in some cases one-of-a-kind models, that are enriching the classroom experience of health education students because of generous donations primarily from The Abney Foundation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, local hospitals and individuals.

Two years ago, The Abney Foundation funded three human patient simulators, which are physiologically correct, computer-driven models designed to look and respond like real patients.  Tri-County’s Health Education Division has the first fully equipped virtual lab in the State.

•  The disabilities training program for Walgreen’s new Distribution Center (DC), currently under construction off I-85 in Anderson, is a unique endeavor for the company, as well as Anderson County and every agency involved in this pilot program.  This innovative, regional project is a first for the Chicago area-based company and for Anderson County.

This is the first time Walgreen’s has committed to training and employing 30 percent of a distribution center’s workforce with persons who have cognitive and physical disabilities.  It’s also the first time in Anderson County that the Center for Accelerated Technology Training (CATT) at Tri-County, the Anderson County Economic Development Board, Anderson Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Vocational Rehabilitation, and several school districts have engaged in a collaborative training project.

Walgreen’s will hire persons with physical and cognitive disabilities to work at the DC in the following jobs:  order picking, receiving goods, and breaking cases down.  The DC, set to open in January of 2007, will begin with 250 employees in the building.  Thirty percent of the workforce will be persons with disabilities.