Workforce development focus of TCL’s ‘State of the College’ program

Published on April 28, 2023

Workforce development and being prepared for the future were the primary themes at the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s annual State of the College program held recently at the Culinary Institute of the South in Bluffton.

The sold-out, ticketed event – held on April 25 at TCL’s newest campus – drew more than 120 guests including many from the business and economic development communities.

Andrew Ratchford, Senior Consultant with Global Location Strategies, a Greenville-based manufacturing and industrial site selection firm, served as keynote speaker for the event, which also included highlights from the State of the College’s annual report and publication.

For his presentation, Ratchford centered on the latest economic trends and the importance of workforce training to a community’s vitality.

“Right now we’re seeing a skills shortage in the U.S.,” he said. “So there’s really this, ‘Where do we shift our talents in America? Where’s the new demand going to be? How do we make sure, if you’re a community, that you’re able to attract those (workers), and that you’re able to be prepared for this?’”

Training new workers, determining what programs, certifications or apprenticeships are needed and having the facilities for the training are all factors that are becoming increasingly important as the demand for workers increases, Ratchford said.

In addition to the presentation, TCL President Dr. Richard Gough detailed several new initiatives coming to TCL including a new 50,000-square-foot workforce training center to be built at the college’s New River Campus.

Named for longtime TCL advocate and area commission member, the Arthur E. Brown Regional Workforce Training Center will be the second building on the college’s New River Campus when it opens and will have an 850-student capacity, Dr. Gough said.

“It’s going to allow us to expand our offerings in technical education in such areas as electric vehicles, supply chain logistics, advance light manufacturing, IT and cybersecurity to name a few,” he said. “We’re very excited about the possibilities and it does exactly what Andrew was talking about – being prepared and ready for the workforce and development that is coming.”


The Virginia L (Ginnie) Kozak Office of Workforce Development
TCL also announced at its State of the College lunch program the renaming of its Continuing Education division.
Continuing Education will now be called The Virginia L (Ginnie) Kozak Office of Workforce Development after former TCL instructor Ginnie Kozak.

Kozak, who was honored at the lunch program, taught small business management at TCL for more than 15 years. Before relocating to South Carolina, Kozak worked in urban and regional planning in Canada, and also worked as a teacher, a consultant and a business columnist.
Kozak recently made a gift of real estate to TCL, which will provide perpetual funding for the Kozak Office of Workforce Development.