Today, the University of South Carolina announced that the Palmetto College iCarolina Community Learning Lab at UofSC Union will be open to the public on Friday, February 25. The computer lab, located in the Union County Carnegie Library at 300 East South Street, will be one of eight labs opening throughout South Carolina and will provide underserved communities with access to high-speed broadband internet.
“I am pleased that these labs are coming online at a time when basic access to broadband internet plays an essential role increasing opportunities for our rural students and communities,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “With more labs in the network opening in the coming months, we’re placing resources in the hands of our communities and people, allowing them to participate in our state’s growing economy.”
In March 2021, Governor McMaster awarded $6 million of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds to the University of South Carolina, who, in partnership with Benedict College, will establish eight Apple computer labs statewide. The network will include hubs in Columbia’s Bull Street District and at Benedict College, along with satellite labs at six of UofSC’s Palmetto College regional campuses. UofSC Palmetto College campuses are all located within 15 miles or less of a broadband desert, according to the South Carolina Broadband Map, providing reliable technology and internet access to these communities.
“We are delighted to open the first Palmetto College iCarolina Learning Lab at UofSC Union,” said Dr. Susan Elkins, Palmetto College Chancellor. “This technology investment in our campuses and communities opens the door for so many South Carolinians to gain skills and certifications that will enable them to grow both academically and professionally. Thank you to Governor McMaster for his leadership and vision to create this tremendous opportunity for our community. Also, thanks to USC Union Dean Randy Lowell and the USC Union team, along with the Ms.Taylor Atkinson, Director of the Carnegie Library and the Carnegie Library team, for this excellent partnership that will serve Union and the surrounding communities.”
The labs have been strategically located for use by our UofSC Palmetto College regional campuses, local school districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the South Carolina Technical College System and citizens in the community. Each site will provide Apple products and educational programming to faculty, staff, students, and the community at no cost to the user. “USC Union is pleased to be the site of the first lab to open across the state,” said Dr. Randy Lowell, Dean at USC Union. “We are very excited to serve with community with our outstanding partners at the Union County Carnegie Library.”
“As the state’s flagship institution, the University of South Carolina is leading many efforts to educate and train the workforce of the future,” said Bill Kirkland, Executive Director of the UofSC Office of Economic Engagement. “In the modern economy, we know that the state needs more highly skilled workers in specialized fields than ever before. Initiatives like the iCarolina network will help fill the gap between K-12, two-year colleges, and higher education for the benefit of our entire statewide community.”