OCtech Gets Nearly $2M Grant for New Health Science and Nursing Building

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College will receive a grant of nearly $2 million for the construction of a new health science and nursing training facility, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced Friday, Sept. 11, 2015.

“We are very delighted to receive this grant from the EDA because it allows us to expand some of the programs we offer and create new programs that address the growing healthcare needs of our region and our state,” OCtech President Dr. Walt Tobin said.

“Our plans are to build a first-class facility to support the first-class programs offered by our dedicated faculty and staff at OCtech,” he said.

The college plans to secure an architect in October to design the 24,000-square-foot building. Construction could begin in mid-2016.

The facility has an estimated cost of $11 million, which includes design fees, furniture, equipment and other items. In addition to the latest grant, the college has $1 million from the state of South Carolina, $500,000 from Orangeburg County and $35,000 from Calhoun County, as well as contributions from the OCtech Foundation. Money will also be used from the college’s plant fund.

OCtech continues to raise funds for the building.

Tobin said, “OCtech has a history of preparing students for good jobs and great careers in this community, particularly in our nursing and health science programs.

“For years, many of these programs have had 100 percent pass rates on their respective licensure exams, and 100 percent job placement in our students’ chosen field of study. Unfortunately, opportunities to grow the enrollment in these programs and meet the demands of our employers have been limited due to a lack of space.”

A release from the Department of Commerce says that more than seven organizations have committed to creating 332 jobs as a result of the project.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping communities develop a workforce with the skills needed for 21st century jobs,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said. “As part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Skills for Business’ initiative, the EDA investment announced today will support worker training that meets the needs of businesses and workers and keeps America competitive.”

The department says changes in trade patterns, wood products and auto parts manufacturing in recent years have resulted in plant closings and job losses for Orangeburg County.

“The creation of a new health sciences building will help address unemployment and promote accessible skills training to enable individuals in the region to acquire competitive employment opportunities in the growing healthcare industry,” the department said in its release.

This article is courtesy of The Times and Democrat, thetandd.com.