"Let's see if we can do something good with it," he said Thursday afternoon. "There's a real vibrancy to this community that, as the national and global economy pick up, will do well."
Mr. Sanford was surrounded by cameras and supporters during most of his tour as he asked questions about the career center and how it helps the unemployed. He also visited Savannah River Site on Thursday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony.
The governor said he came to Aiken Tech to see for himself the success of the college, where enrollment has increased by 35 percent in the past year.
"I give credit to this institution and the institution system as a whole for the ability to reach the price point and produce successful students," he said.
Mr. Sanford later discussed a variety of issues at an impromptu news conference, including the state ethics commission investigation into his travels and his extramarital affair.
The governor said he does not believe the ethics commission's findings should be released until the investigation into his travels is completed. He said once the inquiry is complete he will be exonerated.
"My travel budget has been 70 percent below any previous governor in the last 30 years," he said. "If one believes in the judicial process, you shouldn't base these things on media headlines."
He also said he has asked for forgiveness several times for his unannounced trip in June and his affair.
"The moral failure revealed to the world in June was mine," he said. "The measure of any of our lives is not the falling down but getting back up."
With a little more than a year left in office, Mr. Sanford said he plans to continue to champion investments in South Carolina that will place the state on a "sustainable course."
His visit Thursday was significant to North Augusta resident Thomas Spillane, who spoke with the governor when he was at the One Stop Career Center to look for a job. He said he appreciated Mr. Sanford's interest in his career goals. He has been looking for a job for 10 months, he said.
"It shows concern," Mr. Spillane said. "We need someone who cares about what's going on right now."
Reach Stephanie Toone at (803) 648-1395 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.