Lt. Gov. Evette addresses students during 3rd annual event at the S.C. State House

Lt. Gov. Evette addresses students during 3rd annual event at the S.C. State House

Originally published by ABC 25 Columbia, by Lee Williams, April 9, 2024

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Students from 30 different colleges and universities across South Carolina were recognized at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon for the 3rd Annual Higher Education Day.

The event honors students currently working on their degrees while also encouraging young high schoolers to see attending a college, university, or technical college as a viable path.

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette addressed the students directly, saying, “Continue to dream big. When you dream big, the sky is the limit for you. Anytime I talk to students I like to say what my dad told me and my 3 older brothers. Always work hard, do good, and aim higher, and we will continue to set our state on a path that we could never even dream of.”

Evette says when she came into her position six years ago, only 41% of South Carolinians held a secondary degree. But as Dr. Gregory Little with the SC Commission on Higher Education explains, affordability efforts by the General Assembly aim to see more youth choose higher education.

“For example in the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget, South Carolina increased need based grants from $20 million to $60 million. And doubled tuition grants from $10 million to $20 million. Need based grant funding increased to $70 million in 22-23 and to $80 million in 23-24,” Little says.

Claflin University Senior Erin Thomas says school provides her with the opportunity to chase her dream of being an OBGYN.

“I’m really interested in women’s health, and I know that it’s very prone that we have a lot of different diseases that creep up on us, so I want to keep them engaged, keep them inspired and keep them educated on different things so they can keep themselves healthy and bare the longevity,” says Thomas.

Allen University’s Student President Preston Conner, Jr. says he wants to be a member of the secret service one day. School, he says, will help him reach that goal.

“I feel like education plays a major role in your life. Because without an education you’re limited about stuff you can do. People with an education have a better chance of getting a job, have a better background and something to put on their resume; have more experience,” says Conner.

And Benedict College Sophomore Kenly Rouse is a psychology major. His message to high schoolers?

“Take your time, weigh out all of your options. The sky is the limit. Don’t rush it. Just breathe, be patient and put God first in everything you do,” Rouse says.

Speakers also encouraged students to remain in South Carolina after graduation and help strengthen our state. Around 238,000 students attend 75 higher education institutions across South Carolina.

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette speaks Clarendon County GOP meeting

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette speaks Clarendon County GOP meeting

by Melissa McCoy, Manning Live — originally posted on 2/18/2024

On February 8 th , the Clarendon County Republican Party (CCGOP) met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The meeting was opened with prayer and CCGOP Chairman Moye Graham gave remarks and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, members recited the Republican Creed, led by Cindy Risher from the Executive Committee. June Brailsford, Treasurer, gave her report and Secretary Maureen Calvo followed with an update. This month’s meeting included several special guests. House Representative

District 64 Fawn Pedalino and South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette were in attendance as speakers.

Pedalino gave a brief rundown about the agreement that she and State Senator Kevin Johnson had come to regarding the school board trustees election map before moving on to more recent issues. Pedalino continued, “It is an election year with a lot of things to do, mostly focusing right now on our children, which I think is important.”

Pedalino explained the social media regulation bill and that it mandates age verification, requires parental consent, and provider/parental accounts. The intended goal is to take proactive steps to protect youth from potentially harmful online content. From there, Pedalino said that the committee went further and took the initiative to create the Child Online Safety Act. The COSA is designed to protect children from inappropriate online content such as pornographic material. “Most of you know it is everywhere and they can literally just login. Some of the kids already know what a VPN is and they can bypass it, but the goal was to stop as many as we could,” Pedalino noted.

The Help Not Harm bill, Pedalino describes, fights gender transition procedures to anyone under the age of 18. That would include surgeries as well as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. It restricts South Carolina Medicaid from covering these procedures for anyone under the age of 26. The bill also requires schools to notify parents that their children are making statements about being transgender as well as
holding doctors criminally accountable if they perform these procedures. “I was on this one the whole way, from beginning to end. I was on the committee,” Pedalino touted.

Another bill that passed recently was the maximum potential unemployment benefit bill. “Our state’s unemployment benefits seem to benefit our workforce businesses’ economy,“ Pedalino explained, “essentially the number of our number of weeks of unemployment benefits that a claimant may receive will be tied to the economic conditions.” She then gave the example that when jobs are readily available,
indicating a strong economy, benefits would be limited in an effort to encourage employment and workforce participation. 

Lastly, Pedalino discussed a bill that was close to her heart. “Another one we worked on, and it is sentimental to me, obviously, coming from an EMS background, [is] we created a position for fallen first responder’s survivors.”  The bill is designed to assist families of deceased first responders with benefits and support. “When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you don’t know how to move forward. We want to be able to help with that process. It helps guide them through obtaining health insurance … and educational and financial benefits. This was something that we wanted to take to the Senate.”

After her update, Pedalino formally introduced Lieutenant Governor Evette. After thanking Graham and the crowd for inviting her to the meeting, Evette began to summarize her office’s accomplishments and future goals.

Evette described how she and Governor Henry McMaster “want to bring more opportunities to South Carolina.” She reported 1.7 billion in revenue in 2022 with BMW. “That was our largest economic development announcement that we had … we were so excited only to have that record broken 30 days later when Redway did a $3.5 billion economic development.” Evette was confident in many more businesses establishing themselves in South Carolina. “Let me tell you why they’re coming. Why? Because we are a great red conservative state. Businesses want the opportunity to be able to govern their own businesses.”

Next, Evette spoke regarding high school seniors, including her own, choosing technical colleges over traditional four-year universities. “You can go to one of our technical colleges here in South Carolina. You can get a really cool degree and you’ll go for two years. You will start out at $55,000 and in three years, if you prove yourself to be a good employee, which we all have to do, you can be making six figures. But the best part of that is you will have zero college debt.”

Evette touched on school choice and voter ID before moving on the national election. “I’m very passionate about school choice. I want every parent to be able to guide where their children go to school.

“We want fair elections. And here in South Carolina. We have made it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Right? There is no excuse to not show up in person you have two weeks before any election with your ID with your driver’s license or state issued ID card with your picture on it,” Evette expressed.

A loyal Trump supporter, Evette continually endorses the former president. “We have a presidential primary coming up next Saturday, the 24th , and I’m here to tell you, just to let the cat out of the bag, I’ve been supporting President Trump since 2015. I’ve been supporting him because he brings a sense of strength, peace through strength.”

Evette closed her speech for the evening with a quick question and answer session. A member from the CCGOP took the opportunity to ask the Lt. Governor if she planned to “follow Governor McMaster.”

Evette replied, “Right now, I’m just working really hard to get President Trump elected [and] to make sure we take back the Senate … I really love what I do. I can’t tell you what an honor it is to serve as your lieutenant governor.” She then left the crowd with a simple, “Look for me. I’m not going to be run off.”

Lt. Gov. tours Volvo as plant gets ready to produce only electric vehicles

Lt. Gov. tours Volvo as plant gets ready to produce only electric vehicles

By Ann McGill originally published by Live 5 WCSC on Jan 25, 2024.

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – Big changes are coming to the Volvo manufacturing plant in Ridgeville.

The automaker says just six years from now, the Swedish carmaker will go fully electric.

Starting in 2030, the company will kick gas-powered engines to the curb and only manufacture electric vehicles.

The company invited one of the state’s top officials to the Lowcountry to check out the plant as it prepares to move forward.

Lt. Governor Pamela Evette got full access to the assembly plant that is working to attract the next generation of manufacturing employees.

She even took part in a training exercise designed for new workers.

“This really gets continuity you know. There’s this manual you look at, you do it. The same thing everybody is trained on the same way. I think this is great. I think this is why it’s so important to get our kids involved in our robotics and STEM programs. Cause Legos are a huge part of that dexterity, that creativity,” Evette said.

Volvo is working with ReadySC on a new program to recruit students even before they graduate high school to help them get ready for that 2030 deadline. The Accelerator Program is working with seniors at Woodland, Ashley Ridge, Cross and Stall High Schools.

The company currently employs 2,000 people and is working to bring 1,300 more on board to staff a second shift as it prepares to roll out the all-electric EX90 SUV starting this summer.

There are two application events happening soon. The first one is on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ridgeville at the Ridgeville Community Center people can fill out applications.

There’s another one happening Tuesday in Moncks Corner at the Moncks Corner Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

S.C. Technical College system helps state grow, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette says

S.C. Technical College system helps state grow, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette says

By Matthew Christian, Originally published in the Aiken Standard on January 12, 2024

NORTH AUGUSTA — South Carolina’s technical education system is a big reason for the state’s economic growth, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette said Jan. 10.

South Carolina broke its record for largest single economic development project announced twice in 2022, Evette told the women of the Steel Magnolias Republican women’s group at Southbound Smokehouse. 

BMW announced a $1.7 billion expansion of its Upstate operations, including $1 billion for the production of electric vehicles in Spartanburg and $700 million to build a battery assembly plant in Woodruff. 

Redwood Materials announced plans to construct a $3.5 billion plant in Berkeley County that will build electric vehicle parts. 

The Census Bureau recently announced that South Carolina led the nation in population growth percentage from 2022-2023. 

“We keep growing because we are so blessed with an amazing technical college system,” Evette said. “We can create the workforce of tomorrow.” 

South Carolina’s technical college system includes 16 schools serving different areas of the state. Aiken County is served by Aiken Technical College. 

Evette added her middle son, Joey, chose to attend Greenville Technical College. 

The Evettes live north of Greenville in Travelers Rest. 

Evette said Joey played lacrosse in high school, and her friends would ask her about Joey’s college plans at the games. She said Joey was the smartest of her three children but didn’t want to be in school anymore. 

“Oh my God, he didn’t get into Clemson,” Evette remembers her friends asking. “It really dawned on me how everyone viewed our technical college system as almost a second-tier option.” 

Most people don’t realize there are good careers for graduates of a technical college, Evette continued.

She added someone with a mechatronics degree — design and analysis of sensors and actuators — can make $55,000 per year and, if that person is a good employee, six figures three years after graduation.

The best part, Evette continued, is that graduates will have zero college debt. 

Evette said she tours businesses around the state — she visited Aiken’s AGY plant in 2023 — and speaks to groups of Republicans. She said she is often told by businesses that employees need soft skills and by parents that children need to learn fiscal responsibility. 

“Really all we need to do is get our kids working again,” Evette said. 

She added youth employment is as low as it’s been. 

“Kids will learn soft skills in that first job,” Evette continued. “You can’t teach fiscal responsibility to someone who’s never had a job. They don’t know what they’re giving up to earn a dollar.” 

Evette said she’s started a statewide campaign to encourage parents to let their children get afterschool jobs

Lt. Gov. Evette joins DAODAS to launch new campaign seeks to educate SC parents on speaking to their children about dangers of drugs

Lt. Gov. Evette joins DAODAS to launch new campaign seeks to educate SC parents on speaking to their children about dangers of drugs

by Matthew Sockol – Originally Published by WCIV on November 30th 2023

SOUTH CAROLINA (WCIV) — The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) launched a new campaign dedicated to educating parents on how to have open conversations with their children about alcohol abuse, smoking, vaping and the dangers of other drugs.

“This campaign features statements from real South Carolina children and teens about the challenges they are facing right now,” DAODAS Director Sara Goldsby said in a statement. “We want to use this as an opportunity to help parents tackle tough topics in a way that makes their kids listen.”

According to DAODAS, 23% of students in grades 9-12 in South Carolina admit they drank alcohol in the past month while 47% say have tried electronic vapor products. When it comes to talking about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, it’s best to have conversations early. Educating parents and young people about substance use and misuse before it takes place is key to preventing it from happening.

“This is an issue that impacts thousands of South Carolinians and it is not just those who abuse these drugs that suffer, but their families and loved ones who suffer with them,” Lt. Governor Pamela Evette said in a statement. “That is why it is so vital that we educate our young people about the dangers of drugs and work to ensure that they don’t use drugs in the first place.

“We can’t educate our children on these dangers if we can’t find an effective way to communicate with them,” she continued in her statement. “That’s exactly what this program will do.”

The campaign has a website and social media channels in which parents can go to learn more about having important conversations with their kids, according to DAODAS. The website provides a place where parents will find tips on how to start a conversation, how to keep conversations going, and learning how to better talk to their child.

Lt. Gov. touts education at chamber luncheon

Lt. Gov. touts education at chamber luncheon

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette talked about the importance of education and a burgeoning workforce at the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Luncheon Tuesday, Oct. 31, at the Summerville Country Club.

SC lieutenant governor promotes STEM education as key to attracting tech industry

SC lieutenant governor promotes STEM education as key to attracting tech industry

by Michael Owen – originally published by WPDE on September 14, 2023

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — South Carolina is pushing to be an attractive destination for tech companies, and our state’s Lieutenant Governor said the key is being a national leader in stem education.

Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette visited the Grand Strand today to speak at a tech conference.

She was the host speaker Wednesday at the SC Decoded Conference in North Myrtle Beach.

She said that having these types of jobs and education resources available is crucial to our area if we want the younger generations to stay here.

The Lieutenant Governor also said that while Myrtle Beach has always been routed in hospitality, it’s now expanding into a new industry.

“With DC Blox announcing they’re coming to Myrtle Beach, basically bringing transatlantic fiber in here and being a data center. So, what that’s saying is this is the area you want to be in if you’re going to be in the cyber computer science arena,” said Lt. Gov. Evette.

In order to keep attracting those companies and providing future generations with jobs, Evette said education is the key.

“We have an opportunity. There are great choices in this field, and we as a state, want our kids to stay here. We’re looking out into the future that we are educating our kids for the jobs of the future,” she said.

In 2018, just 43% of all high schools in South Carolina offered computer science courses. Now 93% offer them, which is number two in the country.

She said we need to introduce kids to stem fields at earlier ages.

“It’s never too young. You know I first learned here in Myrtle Beach about STEM and STEAM doing robotics. They start them out very young with Legos getting the dexterity to put things together to create and build and they continue to ramp that up each year,” said Lt. Gov. Evette.

The leader of FIRST Robotics competitions in South Carolina tells me they have kids as young as four years old participating.

“When you go look at kids, they’re using technology. They’re using their iPads. They’re using all these resources and sometimes it’s just to have an environment they can relax in. What we try to do is flip that brain the other way and say how can we actually show the kids how to build that app,” said Chris Cortez, FIRST South Carolina. He added, “They’re using encoding skills that we teach them to build those apps. So they can actually understand at a fundamental level of actually how this comes to be.”

Cortez said FIRST wants to give all kids the opportunity to be introduced to STEM fields and have mentors to be able to help guide them in the industry.

“We also want to empower the students that are in our programs, and future members of our programs to stay in the state of South Carolina. There are great opportunities here and we are going to help build that economic boom of those STEM leaders with our programs,” said Cortez. He went on to add, “When they say there’s great jobs here, we want to be a part of that and say we’re helping build those opportunities for those kids to be successful for those businesses. So those businesses can come here and say ‘You know what there is a great workforce here.’ ”

The Lieutenant Governor agrees that equipping students with the right resources will be crucial to continued expansions into STEM careers for South Carolina. It’s not just kids she wants to be educated either. She also wants to see more veterans use scholarship opportunities to live in South Carolina and enter the STEM field. 

“We know that cyber is the future, technology is the future, and we want to make sure that we equip all South Carolina students with the knowledge that they need for these amazing careers,” said Lt. Gov. Evette.

Many tech companies were on hand for the meet and greet style event with speakers on topics like A.I. and cyber security.