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Leadership Institute

The USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute (SLI) was established in 1998 to help stimulate economic development in the rural areas it serves—Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton and Hampton counties.

The SLI was the result of a public-private initiative that included the University of South Carolina, Allendale County Chamber of Commerce, BellSouth, South Carolina State University, Clemson University, USDA Rural Development, SC Commission on Minority Affairs, SC Department of Commerce, SC Downtown Development Association and Leadership South Carolina.

The Institute oversees programs that make real, tangible advances in its three areas of emphasis:

Leadership Development

The goal for the Leadership Institute’s Center for Leadership Development is to strengthen dynamic leadership skills and to build human capacity, which is essential for the creation and sustainability of economic development. The Leadership Institute partners with Clemson University’s Extension program, local Chambers of Commerce, town and county municipalities, and school districts across our region to offer programs ranging from basic leadership training for emerging leaders to advanced training for existing leaders:

  • Advanced Leadership Programs across our region;
  • Junior Leadership Programs for 10th and 11th graders;
  • Training for Salkehatchie Student Government Association and work-study students.

Leadership development sessions place an emphasis on community involvement and connectivity to result in producing dynamic citizens that take ownership of their communities through volunteer and/or elected positions on area boards and commissions.


Community and Economic Development

The Leadership Institute works diligently to facilitate partnerships across government agencies, community organizations, and volunteers. These partnerships are critical as the groups work to apply for local, state, federal and private funding to address resource shortages and to formulate solutions to community problems. SLI offers assistance as well in the area of grants writing, program design, and networking.

Business and Workforce Development

SLI recognizes that small businesses are the basis for a stable and vigorous economy. Toward this end, our Center for Business Development has worked diligently to help current and prospective small business owners to succeed. We currently have a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Development Center headquartered in Orangeburg to place a staff person in the Leadership Institute. Through partnership with this SBDC, the Small Business Administration, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and the Small Business Assistance Corporation we present small business workshops in our region and follow up with individual consulting services for the attendees. The SLI’s workforce development efforts are assisted by a grant through the Department of Energy, which funds our ‘Advancing Nuclear Skills Regionally’ programs. These programs, operated under a under a joint agreement between five higher education entities and the Savannah River Site’s Community Reuse Organization, seeks to increase non-traditional student enrollment in the nuclear field. We do this through projects, such as robotics programs, increased STEM course availability and summer science camp experiences, that include K–12 as well as Salkehatchie students.

Through its leadership programs, the SLI has helped to develop leadership capacity at all levels of our community—from high school students to business and community leaders. SLI partners with a wide variety of community organizations in order to foster and assist in the successful completion of projects and programs. The Leadership Institute is expanding its activities in the areas of workforce development and industry certifications and training, assisted by a grant from the Department of Energy that specifically seeks to prepare students for a career in the nuclear industry.