Six minority students or first-generation college-ready students will be able to study for a career in food science and technology tuition free, beginning this fall at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College

The college has received a five-year, $439,920 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to implement a new program leading to a four-year degree at Clemson University.

“The grant was the impetus to design this new program at OCtech,” said Dr. William Hair, who is heading the program.

The ongoing program is open to all students, but it will also pay for six minority or first generation college students to complete the first two years at OCtech.

“As long as they follow the track and maintain the required average, they’re assured of acceptance into the program at Clemson in their third year,” he said. They’ll also receive some aid with tuition at Clemson, according to Hair.

Once these students get to Clemson, they’ll have the opportunity to choose from three career paths, he said. They can become certified dieticians, learn to test food safety and develop new food products or learn to design food packaging.

Hair said it’s an excellent opportunity for students to prepare for well-paid careers. Those completing the degrees can expect to earn $40,000 to $50,000 a year after graduation.

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