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.

SC Lt. Gov visits Bamberg discussing economic development, rural communities

SC Lt. Gov visits Bamberg discussing economic development, rural communities

By Shawn Cabbagestalk, Originally Posted Jan 17, 2024 by WJBF News Channel 6

BAMBERG, S.C. (WJBF) – South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette visiting Bamberg, S.C. It was one of many stops focusing on economic development and rural communities. “We know when companies come to rural communities, it, it changes everything for a town and a county and a city,” South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette said.

In the aftermath of last week’s E-F 2 tornado, Lt. Gov. Pam Evette did not tour the damage. Instead, she toured Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing to highlight economic prospects in the area. Our cameras were not allowed inside for security reasons. “I met Phoenix when they were up in Greenville. They won a manufacturing award. So I said, I’d love to come down and see what you’re doing. So that’s what’s brought me here today, to become a better salesman for our state,” she added.

During the strategic tour, she highlighted the transformative impact of industrial development in rural areas and its positive effects. “When somebody makes an investment in our small communities, little by little all kinds of things start to change,” she said. “Grocery stores start to look at coming here, strip malls start to pop up. Builders get excited about building homes in those areas.”

Her vision extends beyond immediate challenges, addressing healthcare concerns and emphasizing the need for infrastructure development, including broadband access. “As other companies see the exciting growth that happens and how communities, really make them part of everything that’s happening, we know that that kind of news is very infectious,” she shared. “South Carolina is where everybody’s looking to grow and we’re looking to show ’em the success in these areas.”

Lt. Gov. Evette plans to visit the tornado-hit area to assess the damage, collaborating with South Carolina EMD to coordinate federal assistance. “They’re waiting word, to see what kind of funding, and how what they’ll declare that incident. So we’re just kind of waiting now on the feds,” Lt. Evette said. “I’m excited to see, the rebuild down here and just how it attracts people from all over the state to come down and support, support the businesses that have been impacted.”

She also visited the TICO tractor factory in Jasper County.

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

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.