With the largest donation in school history, Midlands Technical College will dedicate a center Monday to teach students some rather non-technical skills.
The William Jerry Wood Life Skills Center will train students interpersonal skills, ethics, cultural sensitivity, teamwork and conflict resolution — tools needed to keep a career, school spokesman Todd Gavin said.
The center also will help with resume writing, interviewing and financial literacy.
“Whether you call these abilities soft skills, people skills or life skills, the benefit to our business community is the same,” Midlands Tech president Sonny White said. “There is a growing need for a new generation of employees with more than classroom aptitude.”
The center at Midland Tech’s Airport campus was developed with a $1 million donation from Nephron Pharmaceuticals owners Lou and Bill Kennedy.
The donation is the largest individual donation in Midlands Tech’s 40-year history, Gavin said. The previous record was $85,000. The center is named in honor of Lou Kennedy's father.
The Kennedys, who opened a Nephron manufacturing plant in Lexington County, have made a previous large donation to another Columbia-area college. In 2010, the couple gave $30 million to the University of South Carolina, their alma mater, for a pharmacy innovation center.
Midlands Tech’s life skills center opens as the S.C. State Chamber of Commerce has recommended that colleges give students more help on how to become more responsible employees, Gavin said.
Before the center opened, Midlands Tech integrated life-skills training into existing classes, he said.
The new center will reinforce classroom lessons and provide individual training to the school’s nearly 12,000 students at its six campuses.
“These services are also anticipated to support higher rates of student completion, graduation and entry into the workforce,” Gavin said.