A look into textiles in South Carolina

textiles in sc

Don’t tell Matt Shannon that the textile industry in South Carolina is dead or dying.

“We are here, we are strong,” said Shannon, head of Greenwood Mills weaving department. The mill is a private, family-owned textile plant that has been a fixture in the town of Greenwood for the past 127 years.

pan greenwood mills

While the industry doesn’t employ nearly the numbers it did even as recent as 2001, where the textile mills industry employed more than 52,000 people, there are still nearly 15,000 employed in mills around the state.

The textile industry is considered a legacy industry, meaning that the projected job growth of the industry is declining, but it still has a competitive advantage because of its location. Textiles place well above the national average in the Upstate region for their location quotient, the number that is determined by how influential an industry is in a certain region. You can find the report here.

However, Shannon and Greenwood Mills Human Resources Director Lisa McMillan agree that there won’t be any significant amount of change in the industry’s job growth, but it can be assumed that there will be a slight and steady increase over the coming years due to the number of companies coming back to the states coupled with the number of people expected to retire in the coming years.

“This isn’t just at our plant, but industry everywhere,” McMillan said.

As the textile industry evolved from labor intensive machinery, to water powered equipment and now to a more technology driven plant, the kinds of employees needed have evolved too. Both Shannon and McMillan said the types of people Greenwood Mills is looking to hire are people who want a career, and who are willing to start at the bottom.

“The biggest problem we face is finding qualified labor that is willing to work. A lot of people want a job, but when it comes down to actually working, they don’t want to do it,” Shannon said. “A lot of times it’s the simple things like showing up on time and doing what you’re supposed to.”

What you can expect as a new hire at Greenwood Mills are not desk jobs, but a place where everyone works on the floor in a fast-paced environment. Training for many of the positions is done in-house and the only qualifications you need are basic math and communication skills.

Shift work is a big part of the efficiency of the plant, and while everyone works on average 40 to 50 hours a week, new hires usually work the off-shift hours and gradually work up to the day shift. There are more technical positions that are needed.textile machinery

“Every new machine is more mechanized than the last, and if technology interests you, there is a job for you in the textile industry,” Shannon said.

Marketing YOU!

Marketing YOU

In today’s job market your resume and cover letter are often the first impression you make on a potential employer. Many people often wonder, “How can I stand out among others who have the same qualifications?”

The best way to approach this is to think about it from a marketing perspective. You are the brand – how do you best advertise yourself? A great guide is to use the four P’s of marketing: product, place, promotion and price. Primarily used to create a marketing plan for a product or service; they can be just as useful when trying to market yourself.

The first P is product. This particular P is recognizing that you are your own product in your job search. You must think about your skills, experiences and qualifications — they distinguish your abilities. Highlight these on your resume, and don’t be afraid to explain. For example, rather than just list a project you worked on, say what you learned or how you grew. Did you learn leadership skills, did the experience teach you how to listen to many opinions and help negotiate a compromise, did you use Excel? A brief two or three sentence explanation would suffice.

The next P is place. Do you want to work for a non-profit, in an office or maybe a retail store?  Knowing where you want to work and why you want to be there give you the vision to focus your job search, and if a potential employer asks, “Why do you see yourself working here?” you have already have a well thought out answer.

Promotion is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “something (such as advertising) that is done to make people aware of something and increase its sales or popularity.” This P is the most detailed and lengthy of any of the P’s because it has to be thought out and executed properly.

Margaret Buj, an interview and career acceleration coach, wrote an article called, How to Promote Yourself with Ease and Confidence, for the website Career Attraction that has five key tips to remember:

  1. Understand your audience: be mindful of who your audience is and whether or not what you have to share is relevant to them.
  2. Promote you value, not yourself: talk about specific projects you’ve worked on and the value you’ve delivered to an organization or in a team setting.
  3. Demonstrate confidence and passion: you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and that you know you’ll be successful in the job.
  4. Get recommendations: the people that you know are often times the best people to ask for recommendations. They also can connect you to other professionals or employers that they know are hiring.
  5. Reframe disapproval: there will always be people that disapprove of you or your work. Instead of focusing on those individuals, focus on the people that ensure your success in your career and know how talented and invaluable you are.

You should also consider social media when thinking about your own promotion. There are so many options to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, etc., but one to really consider is LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that can help connect you with employers, allow you to showcase your skills and certifications and view job postings in your area. If you are not sure how to use LinkedIn or know what its benefits are, check out our latest blog post here that details how to get your professional online presence started.

Beyond the types of social media that you have, you should also be aware of the kinds of things you post, especially if your platforms are public. According to careerbuilders annual social media recruitment survey, “60 percent of employers revealed they use social networking sites to research job candidates.”

The last P to consider is price. This particular P can be tricky because you may not be in a position to negotiate your salary. If you are, it’s an easy google search to find the average salary for similar positions in your area. If you are not in a position to negotiate your salary, a more appropriate question is to ask is if there is a possibility of a pay increase and when they are granted.

Make sure to use your resources around you. If you need help writing your resume or cover letter, your nearest SC Works center will assist you one-on-one. Click here to see the statewide locations. For more tips on how to stand out in your job search according to CEO’s and professionals read The Muse’s list here.

Employment Situation for July 2016

For Immediate Release

Aug. 19, 2016

South Carolina’s Employment Situation July 2016

 Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.2 Percent,

Lowest Rate Since June 2001

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July dropped to its lowest level since June 2001. The rate decreased to 5.2 percent in July from 5.4 percent in June.

Over the month, unemployment declined by 4,858 to 120,788, while employment declined by 2,430 people to 2,182,646. This resulted in a decrease in the labor force of 7,288 people to a total of 2,303,434. July’s numbers registered the third consecutive monthly decrease in the unemployment rate.

Over the year,  the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points from 5.7 percent, with the number of unemployed down 8,310. The number of people employed increased by 60,603, and the labor force rose by 52,293.

Nationally, the unemployment rate remained the same from June to July at 4.9 percent.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)

July’s seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payrolls increased by 2,700 over the month to a record level of 2,053,300.

The most prominent increases were in Professional and Business Services (+2,300) and Government (+2,100). Growth was also reported in Leisure and Hospitality (+800); Education and Health Services (+400); and Financial Activities (+100). The industries marking declines included Manufacturing (-1,000); Construction (-900); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-500); Other Services (-400); and Information (-200).

This month’s seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up by 46,100 compared to July 2015. Upswings in employment were recorded in Professional and Business Services (+14,400); Education and Health Services (+8,000); Government (+7,400); Construction (+5,500); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,400); Financial Activities (+3,400); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,000); and Manufacturing (+1,700). Other Services (-500) and Information (-400) fell slightly.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted2)

With a drop of 14,200, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment in July hit a level of 2,053,100. Traditionally, decreases in employment during the summer months are due to seasonal layoffs and school closings.

Employment gains were noted in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+400); Leisure and Hospitality (+400); and Financial Activities (+100). Job loss occurred in Government (-11,200); Manufacturing (-1,500); Education and Health Services (-900); Other Services (-600); Construction (-600); Professional and Business Services (-200); and Information (-100). Mining and Logging remained the same.

Since July 2015, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up 45,400 overall with growth in Professional and Business Services (+14,900); Education and Health Services (+7,200); Government (+7,200); Construction (+5,800); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,100); Financial Activities (+2,400); Manufacturing (+2,200); and Mining and Logging (+200). Employment fell in Other Services (-900) and Information (-500).

1Seasonally Adjusted: Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year (i.e. tourist-related hiring and school closings in the summer). These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in data over time.


2Not Seasonally Adjusted: Effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed from these data.


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Director Stanton’s statement on recent unemployment numbers

For Immediate Release

Aug. 19, 2016

DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton’s Statement

July 2016 Employment Statement

“We are encouraged to see the unemployment rate fall to levels not achieved in over 15 years. We also are heartened by the job growth we’ve experienced in the first half of the year as more than 32,000 people found jobs and are now providing for their families. This reflects the confidence businesses have in South Carolina’s workforce,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “We still have work to do matching the skills of the 120,000 unemployed to the job opportunities around the state.”



The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce is putting South Carolinians to work. The agency invests in building a pipeline of quality workers, matches workers with jobs, and is a bridge for individuals who find themselves out of work for no fault of their own. This promotes financial stability and economic prosperity for employers, individuals and communities. SCDEW is dedicated to advancing South Carolina through services that meet the needs of the state’s businesses, jobseekers and those looking to advance their careers.

How to use LinkedIn

Linkedin how toWhen LinkedIn is brought up many of people say “I don’t understand what it does,” or “I don’t know how to use it.” Are you one of those people?

Consider this:  According to the Pew Research Center, LinkedIn subscribers are especially high among people that have bachelor’s degrees and make $75,000 or more a year. Aren’t these the people you want to connect with professionally?

No matter what kind of job you are looking for, having a strong, polished online presence can help professionals reach you.

So how do you use LinkedIn to its full potential?

When you initially set up a profile with LinkedIn, the social media site will walk you through the process of getting your professional network established.

The first thing that LinkedIn will ask you to do is upload a picture. Remember that this is a professional site, so you should choose a professional picture. If you don’t have one, put on a blazer or business casual outfit and recruit someone to take a few for you to choose from.

Next, LinkedIn will ask questions such as: What is your past job experience, what kind of skills you have, what is your educational experience, etc. If you don’t have an appropriate answer for some of the questions, that’s okay because you can skip them. However, if you do have an answer, be sure to fill it out completely and professionally

Now that you have your profile set up, the next step is to connect with people and build your network.

In order to connect with someone you must have a relationship with them in some way. It might be someone from work or someone you used to know in school. You might have their contact information, like an email to show you have connected with them before. Perhaps you have this information from a recently acquired business card. If you want to use this as your contact reference, and you have just met the person, do it very soon after meeting. This keeps you top-of-mind and gives you an opportunity to use LinkedIn as a way to continue that introductory conversation.

Another thing to consider when connecting with someone is the invitation message. This is the equivalent of the “Friend Request” in Facebook. You are essentially asking someone to be part of your professional network. LinkedIn offers generalized messages to help, such as “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” but if you are trying to impress someone or remind someone of a prior meetings (perhaps at a job fair or trade show), a helpful tip is to customize the message. A simple template to follow is:

“ Hello_____, we met yesterday at ___________and I enjoyed speaking with you.

 I would like to talk more about what you do; I am really interested in that industry.”

This template of course should be customized for your audience, but it allows you to stand out from the crowd that defaults to the template messages.

Linkedin profile strengthAs you build your connections and your profile, be sure to reference your profile strength that is located to the right of your profile page. There are 5 levels of LinkedIn Profile Strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All Star. If you don’t reach All Star on your first day using the site, don’t worry. Your strength will improve as you add information to your profile and that takes time and experience.

Save time, cut paperwork with SIDES

Did you know that using the State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES)                   E-Response can save you time and money?

SIDES E-Response is a web-based system that provides a secure, electronic and nationally standardized format to respond to Unemployment Insurance (UI) information requests at no cost to you. There you can respond to separation information requests, wages reported and possible charges, and view and respond to claims determinations and decisions. You can also use the website to complete earnings verification requests.

Other benefits of using SIDES E-Response include:

  • Reduces staff time
  • Reduces paperwork
  • Provides data checks to ensure the exchange of complete and valid information
  • Helps prevent fraud
  • Helps keep your taxes low

Because SIDES E-Response is a standardized format, you can communicate with multiple states in which you do business all with the click of a few buttons.

To sign up for SIDES E-Response in South Carolina, please register to setup your account.

Once your account has been activated, you can access SIDES E-Response here. When responding, you will need your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), State Employer Identification Number (SEIN) and Personal Identification Number (PIN).

Your time is valuable, register today.

Quinterrio Butler

At 21 years old, Quinterrio Butler knew the importance of taking initiative and exhibiting a positive attitude. Unfortunately, he had a few bumps along the road before he got there. After spending some time in a correctional facility near Spartanburg, Quinterrio was released and made his way to Myrtle Beach on a Friday in April, 2015. The following Monday, he was in the SC Works office looking for any kind of assistance he could receive to put him back on the path to employment. Up until this point, he had never had a job outside of an institutional setting.

 Quinterrio sat down with Mackenzie Ricard, a career development specialist in Waccamaw, who provided information on the Federal Bonding Program as well as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Mackenzie worked with him to create a resume that would highlight his skills that he learned while working within the prison institution, as well as help him strive toward his future endeavors. The two sat for a long time afterwards, discussing the importance of a good attitude and honesty and how both could lead to positive outcomes.

 Quinterrio was encouraged to write a letter of explanation that clarified aspects of his past as well as his productivity since his arrest. He had no problem proving his drive. While incarcerated, Quinterrio attended multiple classes and was able to obtain his GED. He crafted a letter of explanation using templates provided to him and was able to send it off within the next two days. In such a short stretch of time, Quinterrio had equipped himself not only with a resume and letter of explanation, but a new intent on how he was going to achieve his goals.

 Just 10 days after his release, Quinterrio was offered a full-time job with Emergency Landscaping and Irrigation. He was thrilled with his first civilian job, even though he was aware of the seasonal aspect of landscaping.  Instead of allowing himself to become complacent during the off-season, he actively pursued positions that would keep him busy when his first job slowed down. Quinterrio used the skills and documents he crafted when he was first released to gain a full-time job with Subway, all on his own.

 Quinterrio didn’t stop there. Not only has he been working steadily since April, he is also volunteering at his church through a Men’s Ministry. He hopes to use his own experiences to deter children from heading down the path he once chose.

Eric Consuegra

Eric Consuegra had successfully used the resources at the SC Works Sumter location to help him find work on several occasions. However, Eric decided he wanted to start looking for a job that he could consider a career. The idea of having a career path that gave him direction, achievable goals and the focus of constantly improving a skill that could translate into better and better jobs in a particular field appealed to him.

This past March, he went back to the SC Works office to talk with a workforce consultant about how to find the right career for his personality and skill set. With their help, Eric crafted a new resume and submitted it to three different employers. Each of the companies had progressive jobs in a career track that would teach him skills that could be built upon to move up the ladder of the company. Time Warner Cable, Continental Tire and the S.C. Department of Corrections all offered him a position; more than that they offered him a career.

After much consideration, Eric decided to join the Time Warner Cable team. Within two weeks he was not only trained, but was promoted from tier 1 to tier 3.

Since being hired, Time Warner Cable has given him a company vehicle, and he is now training to be a part of the quality control division.

Eric is a great example of the benefit of having a long-term vision of employment, and a testament to the fact that the staff in the works centers can not only help people find a job, they can counsel individuals to help them secure long-term success within a career track.

Employment Situation for June 2016

Press release header

For Immediate Release

South Carolina’s Employment Situation
June 2016

Unemployment Rate Declines to 15 Year Low

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in June to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent in May, marking its lowest level since July 2001.

South Carolina’s employment level reached another historic high with 2,185,181, gaining slightly in June as 109 people found work.

The number of unemployed decreased in June by nearly 4,270 to 125,591, which pushed the labor force down by 4,161 to 2,310,772 people. Over the year, 67,545 job seekers found work, and the level of unemployed individuals decreased by an estimated 7,250. Since June 2015, the labor force has grown by nearly 60,295 people.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.9 percent in June as many people entered the labor force. The state’s unemployment rate has averaged 5.6 percent for the first six months of 2016.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)

June’s seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payrolls increased by 5,200 over the month to a record high level of 2,051,100.

  • South Carolina saw gains in Professional and Business Services (+3,200); Government (+2,600); and Financial Activities (+1,400). Additional growth was also reported in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+200); Education and Health Services (+200); and Information (+100). Industries reporting declines were Manufacturing (-700); Leisure and Hospitality (-700); Other Services (-700); and Construction (-400).
  • Compared to a year ago, seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up 52,300 with increases occurring in the Professional and Business Services (+14,300); Education and Health Services (+8,300); Construction (+6,700); Government (+6,100); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,400); Leisure and Hospitality (+4,500); Manufacturing (+3,400); Financial Activities (+3,400); and Other Services (+200). Information (-100) saw a slight dip in payroll.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted2)

Not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment increased 5,200 from May 2016 to June 2016 for a total of 2,067,900. Growth was concentrated primarily in the Leisure and Hospitality (+5,300) sector.

  • Over-the-month increases also came from Professional and Business Services (+4,100); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,800); and Financial Activities (+1,600). Additional jobs were added in Construction (+700) and Information (+200). Job losses occurred in Government (-4,900); Education and Health Services (-2,900); Other Services (-600); and Manufacturing (-100). Mining and Logging remained the same.
  • Since June 2015, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up (+50,400) overall in South Carolina. Growth was experienced in Professional and Business Services (+16,900); Education and Health Services (+8,300); Construction (+6,400); Government (+5,000); Leisure and Hospitality (+4,300); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+4,100); Manufacturing (+3,100); Financial Activities (+2,600); and Mining and Logging (+100). The Information sector remained steady, while Other Services (-400) fell.

1Seasonally Adjusted: Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year (i.e. tourist-related hiring and school closings in the summer). These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in data over time.


2Not Seasonally Adjusted: Effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed from these data.


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Mitzi Pettigrew

pettigrewMitzi Pettigrew’s dream was to be a nurse. Unfortunately, she made some choices that almost derailed her plans. Mitzi got into trouble that would have prohibited her from obtaining a job in the medical field, but was referred to Education 2 Employment (E2E) by the pre-trial intervention program.

By working through the pre-trial intervention program and completing all of her basic requirements for E2E, Mitzi was able to have her charges dropped, which re-opened the door to nursing opportunities.

Excited over the prospect of a second chance, she registered for CNA training, but found the classes were harder than she expected. Skills like taking someone’s blood pressure made her anxious, and she began to lose faith in herself. Knowing that learning a skill is only one part of an education and that believing in yourself is another key component, career coach Stephanie McCallister decided Mitzi needed a boost. Stephanie invited Mitzi to come into the E2E center after class and practice taking the blood pressure on the staff. This more laid-back, comfortable scenario was just the setting she needed to relax, perfect her skills and begin to have confidence in her abilities. Mitzi went on to pass the blood pressure test, and then a few weeks later she passed the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) exam.

Mitzi surprised herself. She just couldn’t believe how far she had come in just a few short months. But she was not the only one! Teachers and staff at E2E saw the potential in Mitzi and knew she could accomplish her goals, she just needed to discover that success within herself. Now that she has tapped into that potential, there is no stopping her. Mitzi has decided to continue her education with Patient Care Technician (PCT) training. The training is going great, and she hopes to land a job as a Patient Care Tech in the coming months.

Mitzi’s story is a true testament to the good works of the E2E grant. There is more to success than simply going to job training or earning a credential.  E2E offers the support system and encouragement our participants need to be successful.