Project BOOM: building bridges to alternative education

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Tucked away at Midlands Technical College's Airport Campus is a group of students that have been working for months. The semester-long course offers students the tools and guidance to learn basic construction skills.

It's the first group to graduate with this certification, and they say it's a foundation unlike any other.

Project BOOM is quite literally, a booming project. It's the best name for a program that houses young men learning construction inside a workshop lab at Midlands Technical College's Airport Campus.

"BOOM" stands for Building Occupational Opportunities in the Midlands.

WIS caught up with one of the students taking part in Project BOOM, Sam Bennett.

"I'm here to learn, that's probably the easiest way to put it," Bennett said. "I think this program in general just makes you better as a person. You know how to do more for your neighbors, your friends, people in your life."

The program is a partnership between Richland School Districts One and Two and Lexington-Richland Five.

"We handpicked kids that were interested in construction," Angie Slatton, Director of Special Services with Lex-Rich 5. "So we're picking kids not just to go out and do a job but to fulfill a career."

The program is specifically geared towards kids who struggle in traditional school. Rather than earn a traditional diploma, they earned a work credential through OSHA and a certificate from Midlands Technical College.

The group graduated Friday in a special reception held at Midlands Tech's Airport Campus.

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