Lexington Magazine Highlights Be Pro at Start of School Year
Be Pro Be Proud SC: Building Tomorrow’s Workforce, Today
Source: Lexington Life Magazine, August 2023
Be Pro Be Proud SC is a unique workforce development program designed to promote the benefits of skilled trade careers across the state in hopes of bringing a new generation of skilled professionals into the workforce. The Be Pro Be Proud Mobile Workshop is equipped with hands-on simulators and VR experiences for a variety of skilled trades including welding, truck driving, and heavy equipment operation. The Mobile Workshop crisscrosses the state throughout the year, visiting middle and high schools, Career and Technical Education centers, technical colleges, and special events statewide; more than 30,000 people have participated in the experience since its launch in 2020, with the Workshop having traveled over 46,000 miles of SC roads.
“Students are the future of our workforce, and Be Pro Be Proud SC provides them with career options that many of them are not even aware of,” states S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey. “We hope to influence more people to pursue these jobs and to realize that essential work like transportation and logistics, utilities, construction, and diesel technology, among others, are crucial to our state economy and that the demand for these jobs will always be there.”
“There is a difference between hearing about a job and experiencing a job,” says Rick Todd, President and CEO of the South Carolina Trucking Association. “Using a simulator and getting to speak to specialists from these skilled trade fields leave an impact on a young person. By attending these events, students will be in the driver’s seat while they learn that many of these jobs are high-paying and in-demand, that they have long-term career prospects, and that getting certified for these jobs costs only a fraction of the cost of a four-year degree.”
Be Pro SC receives requests every day from schools anxious to have the big blue truck visit their students; even watching the high-energy promotional video about the Mobile Workshop pales in comparison to seeing it up close and in-person. The schedule of upcoming tour stops is available on the Be Pro SC website at www.beprobeproudsc.org; schools can use the link at the bottom of each page to request a visit to their campus in the near future.
“We hope that the students can effectively communicate to their parents the excitement that they feel about their experience on the Mobile Workshop,” says SuzAnne Driscoll, Be Pro SC Project Manager. “The kids don’t know what they don’t know – until they see the Workshop, that is. Then they realize that there are some cool jobs out there that give them exciting, viable, and high-paying career options, many of which can begin right after graduation!”
Be Pro Be Proud SC is a great achievement of a public-private partnership in South Carolina. The private partners include the members of the Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation (AISCF) -- comprised of the S.C. Trucking Association, S.C. Chamber of Commerce, Carolinas AGC, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, and the Forestry Association of South Carolina – plus over 40 other large and small businesses around the state. The public support comes from the Dept. of Employment & Workforce (DEW) and other state education, workforce, and economic development agencies, as well as the SC Legislature, which has appropriated recurring funds for Be Pro Be Proud SC to operate the Mobile Workshop for many years to come; the aforementioned private partners contribute money and in-kind donations to provide updated Workshop experiences and the accompanying educational and marketing materials.
In total, Be Pro Be Proud SC has almost 50 business partners committed at varying in-kind and financial levels to support the efforts to educate students around the state about the opportunities available today in high-paying, in-demand Skilled Professions. These partners host events and visit tour stops to meet with students directly to discuss the realities of jobs in these fields. Any business wishing to be part of this amazing non-profit effort can contact SuzAnne Driscoll by email at SuzAnne@BeProBeProudSC.org.
*For full article with pictures, click on the following link: Lexington Life Magazine Be Pro Be Proud SC.