Take Advantage of New Hire Tax Credit

Businesses could be eligible for a tax credit when a new employee is hired.

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program is federally funded program that could reduce your federal income tax liability when you hire unemployed veterans or individuals with documented barriers to employment.

Administered by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), the WOTC will provide businesses with a 40 percent tax credit on eligible employees’ first year of wages after they have worked 400 hours. Qualifying wage caps do apply.

There is no limit on the number of qualified new hires businesses can claim. The organization can receive a $2,400 to $9,600 credit for each eligible employees.

To take advantage of the program, simply complete and file the required paperwork. It either can be filed electronically or via the mail. However, requests must be postmarked or e-filed within 28 days of the employee’s start date. Forms can be found here.

Take advantage of the WOTC program, and increase your return on investment while helping targeted employees become self-sufficient and earn a steady income.

You can benefit from hiring within the following groups:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipient.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
  • Columbia/Sumter Empowerment Zone / Marlboro County Rural Renewal Community residents.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation or Ticket-to-Work Participants.
  • Recently released ex-felons.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients.
  • Disabled veterans who within in the last year were discharged or unemployed for more than six months.
  • Disabled veterans who within in the last year were discharged or unemployed for more than six months.
  • Unemployed veterans.
  • Veterans receiving SNAP.

For more information, contact S.C. WOTC Coordinator Laura Rushton at 803-737-2592 or laura.rushton@dew.sc.gov.

Pilot program helping the homeless find jobs

In December, DEW and Transitions, a Columbia-based organization that transitions people from homelessness into permanent housing, completed a pilot program to assist those who are homeless develop skills needed to land a job.

About 55 people started the six-week Back to Work program in October and 19 finished it. Another four people were offered jobs before the program ended. Of those 19, nine have found work, and the others are being assisted one on one by DEW staff with finding jobs and with development of soft skills that are needed for them to be successful on the job.

Craig Curry, Transition’s CEO, said a lot of the people he sees coming through Transitions have been “lost in the shuffle” and didn’t get the attention they needed earlier in life.

The Rev. Robert Walker, pastor of Main Street United Methodist Church, offered classroom for the program. The program was led by Patrick Thomas, DEW’s regional manager of the Midlands, and his staff.

The Back to Work program teaches participants practical skills, and it includes training for enhancing self-esteem and motivational skills. Lasting six weeks, the program begins with a “boot camp” designed to implement immediate positive change.

Session Highlights Include:

  • Assessment of skills, abilities and work potential as well as job coach assignments.
  • Resume templates to be sequentially completed section-by-section over the course of the program.
  • Basic or advanced computer skills course or depending on skill level.
  • Navigating employment websites and review of resources needed for employment, such as references and interview clothing.
  • Expectations, social skills and behavioral styles for the job search process as well as employment.
  • Exploration of careers and job types, as well as discussion of realistic expectations for employment.
  • Overview of Federal Bonding Program.

The program was capped with a graduation ceremony and a hiring event.

Curry said he was excited to have the hiring event following the program and feels that is the main reason people stuck with the program for the entire six weeks.

“If only a handful of people get jobs, this program will be a success,” Curry said.

SC building a Work Ready workforce

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South Carolina is striving to be the first state in the nation to certify all of its counties as Work Ready.

Recently two more counties, Charleston and Lancaster, have received certification bringing the number of certified counties to 41. Counties received certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative by meeting specified workforce and education goals.

This initiative has helped attract international business development by providing a robust workforce pipeline. Employers connect to a skilled workforce which them hire the right people for their jobs by drawing candidates from a pool of qualified applicants.

“The Work Ready initiative is providing employers with a skilled workforce, which is driving the state’s employment number where, in August, we saw more people working than any time in the our state’s history. Companies are deciding that South Carolina is a great place to do business,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, Executive Director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

Individuals receive a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) that documents potential employees’ skills showing they have the fundamental skills needed to succeed. Businesses can recommend or prefer that individuals have an NCRC. The South Carolina Work Ready Community initiative provides a framework to strengthen economic development using a community-based approach, grounded in certifying counties as work ready.

A business interested in supporting the Work Ready effort, it can become a S.C. Certified Work Ready Community Business Champion by:

  • Profiling key jobs (job profiling is a job analysis system that identifies the exact skill levels required for success in a given position).
  • Using job profiles and the NCRC as part of your hiring and training process.
  • Sharing with others how your company is benefiting from participating.

A map of South Carolina’s 41 certified counties is available here.

For additional information, visit www.scworkready.org.

 

SC’s November Unemployment Situation

Employment Gains Set New Record, Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the sixth consecutive month, declining from 5.6 percent in October to 5.5 percent in November, a level not seen since August 2001.

The number of people working in South Carolina climbed in November, increasing by 9,147 to a record level of 2,137,493. Employment increased an estimated 71,202 people over the year, an all-time record increase for the state.

The number of unemployed individuals decreased in November by 2,743 to 123,913. Since November 2014, the level of unemployed has decreased by 22,664. The labor force increased by 6,404 to 2,261,406 people. Since November 2014, the labor force has grown substantially by nearly 48,538.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 percent over the month.

Read the full employment report here.

SC’s October Unemployment Situation

Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop, Employment Gains Remain Robust

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month, declining from 5.7 percent in September to 5.6 percent while the number of people working in South Carolina continued to surge. This unemployment rate is the lowest level since June 2007.

In October, the number of people employed increased by 7,886 to a record level of 2,128,894 while the number of unemployed individuals decreased by 2,395 to 126,577 and the labor force reflected a modest increase of 5,491 to 2,255,471.

Since October 2014, the unemployment total has decreased by 19,155 people, and the labor force has grown by 46,977. In addition, employment rose by 66,132 over the year, the largest 12-month gain since July 1983-84.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent to 5.0 percent.

Read the full employment report here.

 

Gov. Haley secures Disaster Unemployment Assistance Eligibility for two more counties

Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) have announced that Fairfield and Marion are eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) after FEMA approved them for individual assistance. This brings the total number of counties eligible to 22.

The DUA program makes funds available to assist people who became unemployed as a direct result of the torrential storm and ensuing floods. It also is available to small business owners and the self-employed, including 1099 contract workers, who lost personal income due to the disaster.

The other counties included are Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Greenwood, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg. Other counties may be added at a later date.

If you have questions regarding your eligibility, call 888-834-5890.

DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton said South Carolina workers may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program.

To be eligible, workers or business owners must meet one or more the following criteria:

  • Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster.
  • Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
  • Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
  • Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster.

Applicants can file immediately. Please check www.dew.sc.gov for updates on this program. Applicants have 30 days from the time a county has been declared a disaster to file a claim under this program.

SC’s September Employment Situation

Employment Sets New Record, Unemployment Rate Continues Rapid Descent

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent from 6.0 percent, recording its lowest level since February 2008. This is the fourth consecutive month in which the rate has declined.

The unemployment rate has dropped 1.1 percent since May. This is the largest four-month drop since the unemployment rate dropped 1.7 percent from June to September 1983. Employment hit a new high with 2,121,326 people working, rising 7,092 from August to September. The number of unemployed individuals decreased by 6,607 to 128,508, the lowest level since April 2008. The labor force showed little change, increasing slightly by 485 to 2,249,834.

From September 2014 to September 2015, the number of people working rose by 62,548, while the level of unemployed decreased by 15,848 people. The labor force grew by nearly 46,700 individuals in the last year.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent.

Read the full employment report here.

Gov. Haley Secures Disaster Unemployment Insurance

Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce have ensured that Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be made available to assist people who became unemployed as a direct result of the recent storm and ensuing floods.

The counties included in the DUA program are Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Greenwood, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter and Williamsburg. Other counties may be added at a later date.

If you have questions regarding your eligibility, call 888-834-5890.

DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton said South Carolina workers may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program.

Workers or business owners meeting the following criteria may be eligible for benefits:

  • Individuals who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster.
  • Individuals who were prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Individuals who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
  • Individuals who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
  • Individuals who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster.

Applicants are encouraged to immediately. Please check www.dew.sc.gov for updates on this program. Applicants have 30 days from the time their county has been declared a disaster to file a claim under this program. The last day to file will be Nov. 6.

Three More S.C. Counties Certified as Work Ready

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Governor Nikki Haley announced today that Calhoun, Chester and Orangeburg counties received certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative. The three counties join the 36 other counties that have met the specified workforce and education goals.

South Carolina leads the nation with the most certified work ready communities, and continues to attract international business development due to its commitment to economic growth and a robust workforce pipeline.

“We are only seven counties away from being the nation’s first certified work ready state with the recent certifications of Calhoun, Chester and Orangeburg counties, and that is cause to celebrate,” Gov. Nikki Haley said. “This again confirms that all of Team South Carolina is working hard toward providing our citizens with opportunities and our businesses with the best workforce in the world. We have always said that our state’s greatest asset is our workforce because of the hardworking, skilled people who call South Carolina home.”

“It is exciting to think that there are now 39 South Carolina counties certified as work ready and what it means to our citizens, local communities and our state,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, Executive Director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “The Work Ready initiative is providing employers with a skilled workforce, which is driving the state’s employment number where, in August, we saw more people working than any time in the our state’s history. Companies are deciding that South Carolina is a great place to do business.”

The South Carolina Work Ready Community initiative provides a framework to strengthen economic development using a community-based approach, grounded in certifying counties as work ready.

To become a South Carolina Work Ready Community, a county must reach or exceed goals in earning National Career Readiness Certificates (achieved through WorkKeys® testing), must meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage, and must engage business support.

A map of South Carolina’s 39 certified counties is available here.

For additional information, visit www.scworkready.org.

SC’s August Employment Situation

Largest Unemployment Rate Decline Since August 1983

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded the largest one-month decline since 1983, falling from 6.4 percent in July to 6.0 percent in August. This marked the rate’s third consecutive monthly drop.

Employment set a new record in August, increasing 2,771 to 2,113,743 people. Labor force shrank marginally, down 5,139 to 2,249,028 people. The number of unemployed individuals decreased by 7,910 to 135,285 from July to August. This is the largest ever one-month drop in the data series since its inception in 1976.

From August 2014 to August 2015, the state’s employment level increased by 58,987 people; the labor force grew by 51,997; and the number of unemployed people decreased by 6,990.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell from 5.3 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August.

Read the full employment report here.