In tandem

Representatives from international auto parts supplier Seoyon E-Hwa and Savannah Technical College, including President Kathy Love, sign a memorandum of understanding for workforce training. (Photo: STC)

  • A training partnership with Korean auto parts supplier
  • Unique counseling internships
  • Developing sign language interpreters

A training partnership with Korean auto parts supplier

Global auto parts supplier Seoyon E-Hwa and Savannah Technical College (STC) are partnering for the Georgia college to train workers for a new manufacturing facility expected to open in fall 2024.

“As a technical college in Georgia, our sole mission is workforce development,” said STC President Kathy Love. “It’s very crucial that we work closely with our advanced manufacturing partners to ensure we are the place that they come when they need skilled employees to be successful.”

In tandem features new community college partnerships with business and industry, higher education institutions and others.

The Korea-based Seoyon E-Hwa announced in February that it will create 740 new direct and indirect jobs and invest almost $76 million in a new manufacturing facility in Chatham County that will make automotive interior parts such as door trims, headlining and tailgate trims, according to STC. More than two-thirds (about 500) of the jobs will be permanent roles in human resources, development, quality and production personnel.

The college observed the auto industry’s growing presence in Georgia, especially in manufacturing related to electric vehicles (EV). Last fall, Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America broke ground in neighboring Bryan County on its first fully dedicated EV and battery manufacturing facility. Since 2020, more than 35 EV-related projects have announced more than $21 billion in investment and 26,700 jobs in Georgia, STC said.

Unique counseling internships

Roane State Community College (RSCC) and the University of Tennessee (UT) are continuing a partnership that provides UT counseling students firsthand clinical experience while providing a service to RSCC that is in demand.

The opportunity allows interns to complete UT graduation requirements with a single semester practicum in the spring, followed by a three-semester internship in the fall, according to a release. During this time, the interns learn how to manage caseloads and practice their clinical skills with RSCC students on issues such as stress management, family trauma, anxiety and more. A Roane State licensed professional counselor supervises the interns.

“This partnership has completely changed our ability to provide services to our students,” Roane State Dean of Students Lisa Steffensen said in the release. “Thanks to the additional support, we do not have to limit sessions or place students on a waitlist to see a counselor. The interns have shown incredible compassion and a strong desire to help students when they need it most.”

The partnership began in spring 2021, when UT contacted Roane State during the Covid pandemic, according to the colleges. At the time, UT needed sites to place students, and the collaboration has grown stronger with four UT counseling students now having completed the internship.

Developing sign language interpreters

Two Michigan community colleges will work together to grow the pool of potential American Sign Language interpreters.

Students who aspire to become American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters can complete their first year at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) before finishing their training at Lansing Community College (LCC).

Under an agreement between the two institutions, GRCC students can take ASL classes, which the college offers as electives, and then transfer to LCC’s specialized Interpreter Training Program, where they can earn an associate degree or certificate.

“This opportunity allows students living on the west side of the state some flexibility when it comes to earning their degree, and we’re hoping to further grow and diversify the field of interpreting through this partnership,” Justine Bryant, affiliate assistant professor of sign language at GRCC, said in a release.

Demand for sign language interpreters is high in Michigan, which has especially stringent requirements for certification, according to GRCC. Nationwide, the demand for ASL interpreters is expected to grow 19% annually through 2028, it adds.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.
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