S.C. employers look to overcome worker shortage
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - New statewide data released Tuesday shows South Carolina’s unemployment rate has dropped again to just 3%.
That’s lower than national unemployment – but it also comes as employers across the state are trying to fill more than 80,000 jobs.
Hundreds of representatives from companies across the state gathered Tuesday to discuss that issue and others during a workforce development symposium in Columbia.
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It was a packed house at the Founders Club at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“The fact that we have 80,000 jobs going unfilled. As great as our economy is — and as the governor points out and rightly so — just imagine if we could fill those 80,000 jobs. That would create billions more in economic activity,” said Bob Morgan, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. president CEO.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says rural communities and technical colleges are two of the main places it’s turning to.
Tens of thousands more jobs are expected to open across South Carolina in the next few years – many of them from massive investments in the electric vehicle industry.
DEW acknowledges existing employers’ concerns that these new jobs could get filled by their own workers and leave them with vacancies in turn.
“It’s not the first time that question’s been asked. No doubt it was asked 40 years ago when Michelin came and 30 years ago or so when BMW came. We can do it, and we will do it by expanding the skilled workforce,” said William Floyd, DEW director.
Floyd says he has full confidence in Ready SC – the technical college system’s workforce training program – and its experience in training and recruiting people for the new sites.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce says when state lawmakers return to Columbia in January, it has a few areas where it’ll likely ask lawmakers to support workforce development efforts.
They include bills involving tax credits for child care and apprenticeship programs as well as continued support for technical college scholarship programs – designed to train workers for high-demand jobs.
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