Historically Black Denmark Technical College May Be Converted Into a Career Center

After recent drops in enrollment, Historically Black Denmark Technical College in South Carolina might be converted into a career center. The plan calls for removing the technical college from the state technical college system and turning it into a regional career center for both high school students and adults seeking an industry certificate.

Denmark Technical College was established by a 1947 state law as a trade school for Black South Carolinians. It became part of the statewide technical college system in 1969 and primarily serves residents of rural Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties. Recently, the state tried to boost interest in the college by offering a free two-year degree or technical certificate to high school students. However, despite this effort, the college’s enrollment has dropped to just 400 students, down from 2,300 students 10 years ago. This summer, the college will be operating in the red and any shortfall will have to come from the budgets of the other 15 technical colleges in South Carolina.

The new plan suggests turning the college into a career center where students and adults can earn technical certificates. Many of the college’s existing programs, such as welding and plumbing would continue and other programs such as brick masonry, carpentry, flight school, and demolition would be added. Some of the campus’ run-down buildings would be used by students training for hazmat and demolition jobs.

However, there are many that oppose shutting down the historically Black college. Members of South Carolina’s Legislative Black Caucus recently met with Denmark Technical administrators to oppose the new plans. The opponents argue that college, which employs over 70 people, is both a source of pride and an economic driver for the local community.

Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg), who co-sponsored the new proposal, believes that it is the only way to keep the institution from completing disappearing.

“This business about closing the school is just totally inaccurate. The school will cease to operate as part of the technical system, but the school will not close,” said Cobb-Hunter. “I’m trying to avert what would be a total disaster if the school closed.”

She continued, “I’m more concerned about keeping the educational opportunities this facility will offer available than I am about keeping somebody’s job as president or vice president and an HBCU designation.”

Related Articles


  1. Some of the information in this article that is portrayed as fact is inaccurate. Specifically, the statement “This summer, the college will be operating in the red…” is not factual. Denmark Technical College has a clear understanding and path forward to complete the fiscal year in the black. Additionally, the statement “Many of the college’s existing programs, such as welding and plumbing would continue…” is also inaccurate. This is not a given and would be based on a study performed to determine the feasibility of reestablishing Denmark Technical College as an Area Trade School (from Section 117, Amendment D4 of the SC House Ways and Means Committee Budget Proposal).

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Roles in Higher Education

The appointments to diversity positions are Tamara Clegg at the University of Maryland, Andrew Alvez at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Kendriana Price at the University of Kentucky.

Study Finds Women of Color Author a Disproportionate Share of Banned Books in American Schools

In the 2021-2022 academic year, school and libraries across the country experienced a significant spike in book bans. A new study has found a disproportionate share of these banned books are written by women of color and include characters from diverse backgrounds.

Christopher Davis Appointed President of LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis

Dr. Davis was appointed interim president of LeMoyne-Owen College last summer. Over the past year, he has led the college through a rebranding initiative, an increase in athletic programming, and improvements to campus infrastructure.

Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Use of Social Security Disability Insurance

According to the report, Black Americans are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to receive Social Security Disability Insurance, and spend roughly 40 percent more on medical care than White Americans.

Featured Jobs