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.

Recovery from substance abuse brings hope to SC college students

Recovery from substance abuse brings hope to SC college students

By Lauren Larsen | Apr 4, 2024, Carolina News & Reporter

USC senior Hunter Welch said dropping out of college to get treatment for substance abuse was extremely difficult. But looking back, he is grateful.

“That was, at the time, probably the most devastating moment in my life, because I felt like I was admitting that I could not do this,” Welch said. “And now I see it as the key to the life I have today.”

Gamecock Recovery hosted the state’s second annual collegiate recovery day event Tuesday to support students in recovery from substance abuse.

Students and staff from across South Carolina gathered at the Statehouse for the awareness event. 

After straying away from the recovery community, Welch said he did a lot of self-exploration but realized how much recovery was a part of his identity.

“I found so much home and acceptance in the recovery community,” Welch said. “I didn’t realize how important it was until I lost it.”

Raylyn Garner, a graduate assistant for Gamecock Recovery, stressed the importance of government officials to advocate and support recovery.

S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette read a proclamation signed by Gov. Henry McMaster declaring April 15, 2024, as Collegiate Recovery Day throughout the state.

“Collegiate Recovery Day provides an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and to show respect and support for those in recovery, as well as those who have helped them obtain recovery this day and throughout the year,” Evette said.

Garner said data shows that 5% of college students identify as being in recovery. That turns out to be a lot of students at a large school like USC.

“Today, we can ensure that the message of recovery is loud and clear, a message that says you’re not alone, you’re supported and your journey matters, ” Garner said.

Recovery communities and organizations on campuses enhance students’ overall physical and emotional well being, Evette said.

Ten colleges in the state were in attendance and had students in recovery speak. Representatives from S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), Lutheran Services Carolina and the Catawba Tribe also attended.

Since the recovery day celebration last year, S.C. State University and Columbia College have added Collegiate Recovery Programs.

Wood Marchant, director of the College of Charleston’s program, said that when he graduated college almost 30 years ago, he wouldn’t believe he was back on campus running a program for sober college students. But he finds the experience rewarding for both him and others.

“The journeys the students go on to get to graduation are incredibly inspirational,” Marchant said. “And I get a front-row seat to see people who have totally and completely changed their lives.”

Students from different universities also shared their stories.

Clemson senior Joe Ogg thought college was about partying, drugs and alcohol. But they began to consume his life, he said. For a while, it seemed like his peers were having the same experience, and it took him a while to accept they weren’t.

After rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and sober living, he was scared of going back to college and not having a place to fit in.

“Going into the (on-campus) meeting and looking around and seeing a room of college students that were having the same experience as me was monumental for me, sustaining my sobriety,” Ogg said.

Allen University senior Marvin Williams said being able to attend a university with the Collegiate Recovery Program has given him and his peers a place to express themselves without judgment or feeling alone. He said the program has given him a sense of belonging and support in his college community.

Gavrielle Jacobson, an intern for Gamecock Recovery and first-year graduate student, thanked faculty, staff and administrators who run these programs for helping students in their recovery journey.

“Their dedication to this cause not only transforms the lives of students but also contributes to the overall well- being and success of our campus communities,” Jacobson said.

Aimee Hourigan, director of substance abuse prevention and education at USC, said she wants people to know that recovery is fun and makes life better. And she said there are different ways to figure out what works for you.

Speakers at the event repeatedly expressed the resilience it takes to be in recovery and why it’s worth celebrating. 

“Collectively, we are building more resilient individuals, more resilient communities … and a more resilient and strong South Carolina,” said Sara Goldsby, Director of DAODAS. “It’s something to honor and something to celebrate as we shift culture in this state to recognize and celebrate the power of recovery.”

Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette supports expansion of home visit programs for SC moms, babies

Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette supports expansion of home visit programs for SC moms, babies

By Dejon Johnson | Originally posted by ABC 15 News on Wed, Feb. 2024

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WACH) — On Wednesday, Legislative leaders held a press conference supporting home visit programs that serve South Carolina mothers and babies.

The press conference was held at 11:30 am at the South Carolina State House.

Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette reaffirmed the states commitment to maternal health and early childhood development.

Lt. Gov. Evette was joined by Senator Katrina Shealy, other legislative leaders, Chidren’s Trust CEO Sue Williams and a mom who benefitted from the home visiting programs.

“I have seen first-hand the invaluable work being done by Children’s Trust home visiting programs in our state,” said Lt. Governor Evette. “By offering guidance and support directly within the families’ homes, these programs empower parents and caregivers with the tools and resources they need to provide the best possible start in life for their children.”

Less than 10 percent of eligible families in South Carolina receive voluntary home visiting services. 

South Carolina will be able to serve more families through a state financial investment that would get matched 3-to-1 by the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grant. 

“Investing in early childhood development is one of the most effective ways to build a brighter future for our state,” said Williams. “By supporting home visiting programs, we are investing in the well-being of our children and the strength of our communities,” said Sue Williams.

For more information about home visiting programs in South Carolina, visit scChildren.org.

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 Speaks to Crowds during the SC March for Life at the SC State House

Lt. Gov. Evette Speaks to Crowds during the SC March for Life at the SC State House

Politics, religion, and abortion were all discussed on Saturday during the March for Life.

Written by Nate Stanley, originally published Jan 6, 2024 by WLTX News 19

COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Saturday, hundreds gathered for South Carolina’s 50th March for Life outside of the State House.

South Carolina Citizens for Life founded the event and had dozens of churches represented. It drew people from around the state, including Mary and Karen from Charleston.

“We came out here to save lives, to save our babies,” Karen said.

After a short walk to the State House steps, speakers, including Attorney General Alan Wilson, Rep. Joe Wilson, and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, spoke. Evette highlighted the work her office has done after a year of abortion legislation in the state.

“In our executive budget, we’ve asked for $500,000 to go to children’s trust. $250,000 of that will get matched 3-to-1 by the federal government,” she said. “Right now, the program, OBGYNs refer an at-risk mom to the children’s trust program. A nurse will come out to their home; they’ll help them when it comes to prenatal care to help with the baby when it’s born to helping them find options with careers.”

In 2023, the legislature passed a new version of the fetal heartbeat law that essentially bans abortion after six weeks. After a long battle, the South Carolina Supreme Court took on the bill to decide whether it was constitutional. In August 2023, the court decided 4-1 to uphold the law. Evette said she sees the last year as progress.

“If you save one life, it’s a win. Here in South Carolina, when the first Heartbeat Bill got locked up in the Supreme Court, and then the Supreme Court voted against it, we saw out-of-state abortions rise at astronomical levels,” she said. “That was not good for South Carolina; to be an abortion destination state was not what we wanted to be labeled as. If this law didn’t take everybody where they wanted to, know that you are saving more lives today than you did before it passed.”

For Jonathan Bruce, the day was about spreading his message and connecting with others in Columbia.

“What I believe is we should come to a consensus of understanding of what life is,” he said. “I believe if we can come to an agreement of where life starts, we can actually get somewhere.”

Mary and Karen said they came to spread awareness of available resources for mothers in the state.

“That baby doesn’t have a choice but a mother has a choice,” Karen said. “There are so many people out there today that want children but can’t have children.”

Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request for comment on the rally.

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.