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TMCNet:  SCRA Collaborative Kicks off EDGE Academy for Workforce Development

[April 15, 2014]

SCRA Collaborative Kicks off EDGE Academy for Workforce Development

CHARLESTON, S.C. --(Business Wire)--

SCRA, with partners STEM Premier and SPARC, completed the first EDGE Academy webinar last week in Charleston-area schools. EDGE Academies are career-themed schools within area high schools. This is the pilot year of the program that seeks to strengthen the future local workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

STEM Premier was founded to break down geographic and economic barriers facing America's next generation of STEM talent. Through a program established with SCRA and software developer SPARC, STEM Premier connects students and businesses in an online platform.

"The students were providing great feedback to the participating companies during the presentation through the live chat," said STEM Premier Co-Founder Casey Welch. "From a STEM Premier perspective, this was a great example of corporations and students working together to mutually benefit each other."

Sponsored by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, EDGE has secured 26 businesses to partner with 7 EDGE Academies. The recent webinar was designed to test and showcase a multi-district/multi-school/multi-Academy Partner classroom activity. During the webinar, students were introduced to project collaboration concepts and real-world case studies such as the development of STEM Premier itself.

"Efforts to enhance and develop the technical and business capabilities of our future workforce are truly important as we continue to build South Carolina's Knowledge Economy," said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. "We are delighted to work with this program that brings new perspective and experience to our state's young people."

About SCRA

www.scra.org


SCRA Technology Ventures helps innovative companies grow and develop new technologies, creating jobs and advancing the Knowledge Economy throughout South Carolina. This SCRA business sector provides support and mentoring program to early stage, start-up technology companies through its flagship SC Launch. Since 2006, SCRA has deployed over $79 million in funding and infrastructure to support over 280 high-tech, early-stage enterprises and has directly invested nearly $18 million in South Carolina start-ups, attracting over $260 million in private investment. SCRA Technology Ventures also supports commercialization and growth by facilitating the transfer of intellectual property and accelerating the transition of inventions to the marketplace.

Multiple economic impact studies show SCRA's cumulative output on South Carolina's economy to be over $15.3 billion, and that the company has helped create approximately 15,000 technology-related jobs in the state, with annual wages averaging between $55,000 and $77,000. For more information, please visit www.scra.org or follow SCRA on Twitter (News - Alert) (@SCRAInnovation).

About SPARC

SPARC is a software product development company creating engaging, forward-thinking technology while keeping Team Members at the core of everything we do. With offices in Charleston, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., SPARC provides software development services for the government and commercial sectors, and develops commercial software products for the executive leadership, human resources, big data analytics, and mobile markets. In 2013, SPARC was ranked by Inc. 500 as the 14th fastest-growing private company in the U.S. Come by for a tour and see SPARC's award-winning culture for yourself, or learn more at www.sparcedge.com.

About EDGE Academies

Edge Academies are career-themed schools within high schools in which the learning environment reflects the atmosphere and expectations of college and careers in the 21st century. The three initial areas of focus for EDGE Academies are health professions, hospitality/culinary arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

These are the fastest growing industry sectors in the region over the next ten years, and the broad Academy themes cover many areas of each industry. For example, STEM may include computer programming as well as information systems technology. As the initiative grows, additional areas of study will be added. For more information visit https://www.charlestonchamber.net/edge-academies/.


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