High school sophomores learn to “Be Pro Be Proud” in SCC’s technical programs

Columbus County and Whiteville City 10th graders toured the technical programs at Southeastern Community College on Feb. 6 and 7 as part of the Be Pro Be Proud initiative. They received hands-on experience on the Be Pro Be Proud mobile workshop trailer parked in front of campus that featured virtual reality simulations of working in technical fields. 

“We’re really excited to host this event in partnership with Columbus County Schools and Whiteville City Schools,” said Angie Ransom, dean of business careers and technical programs. “This event gives us access to 10 graders who are considering careers in automotive systems, construction, heating and air conditioning, welding, engineering, agribusiness and information technology.” 

Ransom said that students toured the Be Pro Be Proud trailer and experienced virtual reality simulations that put students in the shoes of truck drivers, electricians and welders. Students met SCC instructors and had opportunities to ask questions about careers in technical programs. During the tours, Denise Young encouraged students to sign up for internships and apprenticeships, so they could get real-world experience and get paid as a student.   

“I hope this sparked an interest in technical trades,” Ransom said. “We’re all about building a pipeline of employees for Columbus County because there are job openings  in each of these industries. I hope they see Southeastern is where they want to go and get that training they need to be a part of that pipeline.” 

Early College Liaison Crystal Matthis said the goal of Be Pro Be Proud is to encourage 10th graders to enroll in the five-week technical programs summer camp at SCC (set to start in May)  and transition them into the Career and College Promise program. She said that 48 students from each of the five high schools participated.  

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SCC’s career coaches Allison Gibson, Frankye Boone and Kirby Sanderson organized the two-day event. They worked with each of the high schools to select 10th graders not interested in the four-year university transfer track.  

According to its official website, Be Pro Be Proud’s presence in North Carolina is “an initiative led by the N.C. Home Builders Educational and Charitable Foundation, [that] is leading the movement to bring a new generation of pride, progress & professionals to North Carolina’s skilled workforce.” Be Proud Be Proud initiatives are found in five other states: Arkansas, Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee.