SC Representative Annie E. McDanie
SC Representative Annie E. McDaniel (D) District 41 - Chester, Fairfield & Richland Counties

Innovation in Education: Nurturing Tech Talent in Fairfield County

3 mins read

(Fairfield, SC)Fairfield County is home to some of the brightest students in our state.  Since my days on the Fairfield County School Board, I have been committed to helping students access quality education and gain programming experience to ensure they have a fair chance in attending the college of their choice, as well as a leg up in the hiring process upon the completion of their degree programs. Our policymakers and partners in the private sector also have a responsibility to ensure South Carolina’s students have the resources and tools to compete in the 21st century economy.

Fairfield County School District continues to create opportunities for students to better understand, utilize and implement new, innovative ways to connect, learn and grow through technological innovation. The school district has seen success through programs such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW– Middle Grades and Biomedical Science) and 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative. Project Lead the Way allows students to engage in unique problem-based learning in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. The 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative allows for engagement, equity, and exposure when it comes to digital learning and accessing blended learning opportunities through a variety of technology tools.

Programs like PLTW and 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative help students gain the skills needed for jobs in the high-tech sector. When policymakers advance legislation that threatens our tech sector’s ability to innovate, the opportunities for students and young professionals looking to enter the job market are impacted too. We encourage legislators to critically examine restrictive policies and consider the broader impact on our economy and workforce.

The tech industry has long faced a shortage of minority talent. Innovation is driven by diverse perspectives and backgrounds, and I’m grateful there are programs like PLTW and 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative that embrace the potential in our students. Recent data shows that fostering a diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, but it leads to better business outcomes. Supporting opportunities for professional development in the tech sector is an innovative approach that benefits our state’s growing economy and its young professionals in the making.

The tech workforce is constantly evolving, and we must continue to provide our students with the proper programming and resources to ensure they are adequately prepared to step into roles that meet the needs of the 21st century economy. We need to push back against short-sighted policies that would limit innovation and discourage opportunities that benefit our students.

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