The University of South Carolina Salkehatchie opened two new Palmetto College iCarolina Community Learning Labs on Tuesday, June 21, at its campuses in Allendale and Walterboro. The labs, which utilize Apple technology, are among eight that will open throughout South Carolina and are designed to provide underserved communities with access to high-speed broadband internet and educational programming.
“USC Salkehatchie is grateful for the opportunity to serve as the site for two Apple labs that will provide free access to technology and reliable internet in our communities,” said USC Salkehatchie Dean April Cone. “In today’s world, technology is essential for educational success and economic growth. The state’s investment in the iCarolina Learning Lab initiative will have a significant impact in rural South Carolina for years to come.”
The iCarolina Labs are part of a major initiative to establish Apple labs throughout the state, including at six of the University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College regional campus locations, as well as a lab announced at Benedict College in March 2021. Palmetto College campuses are all located within 15 miles or less of a broadband desert, according to the South Carolina Broadband Map. The university’s iCarolina Labs launched in February 2022, thanks to $6 million in funds allocated through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds. To date, iCarolina Labs have opened on the campuses of USC Union, USC Lancaster and USC Sumter.
"These two new iCarolina labs will help advance our mission of providing our rural communities with reliable access to broadband internet,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Ultimately, this project will help more South Carolinians participate in our state’s growing economy and ensure our rural residents have the tools they need to succeed.”
The Allendale lab is located in the Library and Academic Support Building, 465 James Brandt Blvd., and the Walterboro lab is housed in the Peden B. McLeod Library, 807 Hampton Street, which is named for the late state senator and longtime supporter of the Salkehatchie community.
“We are delighted to open two new Palmetto College iCarolina Learning Labs at the USC Salkehatchie campuses,” 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.”
Bill Kirkland, executive director of UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement, said the labs fit with the university’s mission of helping improve communities throughout South Carolina.
“We are thrilled to open these two new iCarolina Learning Labs at USC Salkehatchie,” Kirkland said. “By investing in our communities and providing access to technology and high-demand skills training, UofSC, as the state’s flagship institution, is leading at the forefront ensuring that our underserved communities and rural populations can actively participate in and benefit from the modern economy.”