Partnership Forged to Boost S.C. Workforce Services

Gov. Nikki Haley, along with a dozen state leaders, formalized a partnership Thursday that will boost South Carolina’s public workforce system, SC Works.

The ultimate goal is to unify numerous workforce programs into a single, integrated customer-focused network in each local community.

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The following agencies and organizations signed the partnership agreement:

  • Office of the Governor (Office of Economic Opportunity)
  • Department of Employment and Workforce
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
  • Department of Social Services
  • Indian Development Council
  • Job Corps
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging
  • SC Technical College System
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Department

The formal partnership agreement is the culmination of discussions that began more than a year ago among agencies impacting workforce development. The initiative was spearheaded by the State Workforce Investment Board.

Unemployment Trust Fund to Reach Solvency in 2015; S.C. Businesses to Pay Less in Federal Unemployment Taxes

DEW is on track to have the state’s loan to the federal government for the unemployment trust fund paid off in summer 2015 thanks in part to making a record three payments last year.

In December, the agency paid $75 million bringing South Carolina’s loan balance to $195 million and saving the state potentially $1.7 million in interest.

“Making three early loan repayments in a single year is a great sign for our state and is another example of the kind of fiscally responsible government that our administration is committed to delivering,” Gov. Nikki Haley said when the payment was announced. “Ultimately, these payments are saving our businesses and taxpayers millions in interest, and are the direct result of the record breaking employment South Carolina continues to experience.”

When the 2014 unemployment tax rate was set, the federal government estimated 1,968,209 South Carolinians were employed. As of October 2014, 2,045,499 people were employed in the state, leading to additional tax collections.

In addition, South Carolina paid approximately $70.3 million less in unemployment benefits between November 2013 and October 2014 compared to the same time frame during the previous year.

“I am excited about this extra payment because it is an outcome of our state experiencing record highs in employment during the past year,” DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton said in December. “At the same time, we have seen a dramatic decrease in benefit payments, which shows our economy is continuing to improve.”

To date, South Carolina has repaid more than $780 million of the $977 million borrowed from the federal government.

For the fourth consecutive year, S.C. businesses will only pay the minimum 0.6 percent per employee for federal unemployment taxes because the Palmetto State once again met the requirements—including making voluntary loan payments— to obtain the maximum credit. Receiving this credit means S.C. businesses will save up to $140 per worker.

South Carolina is the only borrowing state to receive the full 5.4 percent credit.

 

 

South Carolina Outpaces Nation in Work Ready Certification Efforts

Nearly half of South Carolina’s counties are now certified as work ready, outpacing the nation in an initiative that showcases the highly skilled workforce that businesses require in a competitive economy.

Eighteen counties were recently recognized for achieving certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative. The counties are: Abbeville, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Beaufort, Berkeley, Cherokee, Dorchester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Florence, Greenwood, Laurens, Marlboro, Newberry, Pickens, Sumter and Williamsburg.

Certified communitiesmapThe 18 newly certified counties have all met specified workforce and education goals, demonstrating to businesses a strong workforce and commitment to economic growth. The Palmetto State now has 22 counties with this designation, which is more than any other state in the nation.

“With almost half of our counties now certified, we are well on our way to becoming the first certified work ready state in the nation,” Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster said during a December ceremony recognized the newest Work Ready communities. “The next four years will be critical, focusing on economic development and these initiatives will help bring prosperity and growth to our state. This will show the rest of the country and world that South Carolina is ready and open for business.”

SCWRC 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, each county has to reach or exceed goals in the following categories: National Career Readiness Certificates (WorkKeys® testing), graduation rates, soft-skills and business support.

“Counties of all sizes are catching on to the effectiveness of the Work Ready program and realizing that certification allows each area to market itself to new and existing businesses and ultimately results in more jobs for South Carolinians,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce.

McMasterCWRC

Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster talks about the importance of Certified Work Ready Communities during an event in December at the State House.

The latest work ready counties join the ranks of Clarendon, McCormick, Colleton and Saluda, which previously received the South Carolina Work Ready Community designation.

South Carolina was one of four pilot states selected to participate in the ACT Certified Work Ready Community program.

Find out how your business can take part in the initiative at scworkready.org.

 

 

 

DEW Proposes Regulations to Rebuild the UI Trust Fund and Clarify Suitable Work

DEW has submitted proposed regulations that will be reviewed by the General Assembly this session. One regulation relates to rebuilding the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund while the other relates to amending the definition of suitable work for UI claimants.

Trust Fund Rebuild

South Carolina is on track  to repay $977 million that was borrowed from the federal government for the UI Trust Fund before the end of 2015. The current outstanding balance on the loan is $195 million.

State law [South Carolina Code Section 41-31-45 (C)] states that “after the fund returns to solvency, the department must promulgate regulations concerning the income needed to pay benefits in each year and return the trust fund to an adequate level…”

Knowing that the Trust Fund is expected to be paid this year, DEW submitted a proposed regulation last year to rebuild the Trust Fund under the principle that South Carolina should never have to borrow money from the federal government again and that S.C. businesses want as much certainty and stability as possible when it comes to their unemployment taxes.

Proposed Rebuild regulation:

  • Uses a four-year rebuilding period based on the theory of a seven-year economic cycle and the desire to rebuild the fund during the good economic years.
  • Provides triggers to maintain stability for businesses in the event of an economic downturn and to avoid having to borrow money from the federal government again.
  • States that in the event that the balance of the UI Trust Fund at the end of the most recently completed fiscal year is greater than the fund adequacy target, DEW may use the surplus amount to reduce taxes in the following year.

The regulation was structured based on the current statute that was implemented to repay the loan. If the regulation is passed as written, no statutory changes would need to be made to rebuild the Trust Fund. View the regulation here.

Suitable Work

DEW is proposing to amend the suitable work regulation as a best practice recommendation from a third-party business process review. The proposed regulation is modeled after Georgia’s suitable work policy.

The regulation will provide guidance to UI claimants and the public on what DEW considers available suitable work in consideration of the claimant’s prior earnings and the length of unemployment.

Currently, claimants do not have a regulation or a statute to guide them in determining how the wage in an offer of work would be considered when determining whether the position is available suitable work and if their refusal to accept such work would be considered a disqualification. View the regulation here.

What’s  Next?

Both regulations were printed in the State Register on September 26, 2014 which opened up a public comment period on the regulations through November 12, 2014. There were not enough comments received to warrant a public hearing through the Administrative Law Court.

The regulations have been submitted to the General Assembly for review, and the General Assembly has 120 calendar days (during session) to review the regulations.

 

Unemployment Insurance Tax Update: Taxable Wage Base Changes in 2015

Unemployment Insurance taxes are charged on a certain amount of wages earned by each employee, and this is called the taxable wage base.

Per SC Code Ann. § 41-27-380, the taxable wage base increased to $14,000 in January 2015.

It had previously been $12,000. Once you have paid taxes on the first $14,000 of an individual’s wages, you do not owe any additional taxes for the remainder of the calendar year. However, you must continue to report wages earned by each individual. This is referred to as excess wages reported.

The $14,000 taxable wage base takes effect for taxes starting first quarter of 2015.

Remember, fourth quarter 2014 wage and contribution reports are due on January 31. You will use the $12,000 taxable wage base for this period.

If you have questions, please contact DEW’s Employer Tax Services Division at 803.737.3080 or uitax@dew.sc.gov.

Register Now: Workforce Development Partnership Symposium

Don’t let workforce development puzzle you.

If you’re interested in advancing our state’s workforce, mark your calendar for this year’s South Carolina Workforce Development Partnership Symposium February 25-27 at the Columbia Marriott Hotel.

registertoday

This annual event is a great opportunity to hear best practices, collaborate on future endeavors, and learn about workforce innovations to help your business prosper and improve the lives of South Carolinians .

Nearly 300 individuals from every level of South Carolina’s workforce system attend each year including: businesses, State and Local Workforce Investment Board members, elected officials, workforce professionals, staff from partner agencies, economic development, and community-based organizations.

With your business’ participation and support, South Carolina can solve the workforce development puzzle.

We hope to see you there!

Click here for Conference Registration:

Early Bird Registration:  $150 After February 16, 2015  $175

On-Site Registration: $200

Click Here for Hotel Reservations

The Columbia Marriott (800) 593-6465 or (803) 771-7000

Government Rate:  $94* *Plus Applicable Taxes *

February 5 Deadline for Government Rate

Let SC Works Find the Right Candidates to Fill Your Jobs

SC Works Online Services (SCWOS), at scworks.org, is South Carolina’s most comprehensive job-search tool, fueled by the state’s largest workforce development database.

If you’re not posting your jobs on SCWOS, you’re missing out on a pool of more than 200,000 active jobseekers who are skilled and looking for employers just like you. Last year alone, more than 5,300 employers used SCWOS to post and fill more than 148,000 jobs.

SCworks employersGain your competitive edge by using SCWOS to post your positions, pre-screen applicants and review job market trends. It’s completely free. Visit scworks.org to register your business and get started today.

 

South Carolina’s Employment Situation: December 2014

Unemployment Rate Drops; New Records Set in Employment and Labor Force

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 6.5 percent in December from November’s rate of 6.7 percent. The estimated number of South Carolinians working rose by 7,243 people to set a new record of 2,058,657.

The state’s labor force continued to expand with an increase of 4,459 people in December, setting another all-time high of 2,202,017. The estimated number of unemployed people decreased by 2,784 to 143,360.

Since December 2013, the labor force has increased by an estimated 33,793 people with 32,770 of them having found work. Also, the state’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.1 percentage points over the year.

Nationally, the December unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent from November’s rate of 5.8 percent.

To see the full report including county-level data, please visit this page.

 

Georgetown SC Works Connects Woman With Supportive Work Environment

sandra Amann_successstorySandra Amann had a complicated medical history. With physical limitations and some impaired memory issues, she had not worked since 2010 and had difficulty looking for work.

She contacted the Georgetown SC Works office in search of services through the Ticket to Work Program. A product of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Ticket to Work provides people receiving Social Security benefits more choices for receiving employment services. SC Works serves as an employment network for the program, helping “ticket holders” find meaningful employment.

With her disabilities in mind, Georgetown SC Works helped her revamp her resume and began looking for jobs best suited to her needs.

When an opening came available at the local County Vocational Rehabilitation Services office, the center processed the referral on Amann’s behalf, recommending her for the position. With a new resume in hand, she applied for the position and was ultimately offered the job.

Less than 20 days after walking into the SC Works center, Amann was employed and making almost $12 an hour in a supportive environment, conducive to her health needs.

Who’s Hiring in the Upstate?

If you are looking for a job in South Carolina’s Upstate, look no further than SC Works Online Services. The state’s largest jobs database will tell you which employers are hiring in your area. Below you will find the top 10 employers currently posting the most jobs in the Greenville, Spartanburg, the Anderson and the Greenwood/Laurens areas.

Remember, to find the best matches near you, visit jobs.scworks.org and search by zip code and keyword.

The top 10 hiring employers in Greenville County are below.

Greenville

The Upstate workforce area includes Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties.

upstate

The Upper Savannah area includes Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, and Newberry counties.

UpperSav

The Worklink area includes Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.

Worklink