Serving those who served

Jason Schulz was in the Army for more than 23 years and had three tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq. When he retired from the military in 2014 he decided to move to Greenville, S.C. where he quickly found work.

Unfortunately the position was short-lived. Close to 10 months after being hired the company started personnel realignments in preparation for a sale and Jason and several of his coworkers were laid off.

He immediately began a new job search utilizing the tools that were offered to him through the SC Works center. He used those resources to begin networking in the veteran community.

Through this process, Jason learned that, like him, many veterans have barriers to employment, and he wanted to help others having similar issues. In September 2015 he founded the Upstate Veteran Business Network. This group is dedicated to creating a meaningful and lasting network of veterans in the Upstate of South Carolina and to help current veteran-focused organizations improve their services.

Shortly after starting the Upstate Veteran Business Network, Jason met Eric McAbee, a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) specialist with the Spartanburg SC Works center. He was able to educate Jason on the resources available to veterans through the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), specifically Operation Palmetto Employment (OPE). Through a partnership between DEW and the S.C. National Guard, OPE is a resource for veterans to help them find meaningful civilian careers.

He decided to attend an OPE summit, and there he heard about various employers in his area that were certified Palmetto Military Employers (PME), a certification process for employers who actively hire and retain veteran employees. One employer stood out to him the most – Cooper Standard Automotive. At the end of the event they talked about a job fair happening the following day where many of the PMEs would be attending.

He took the opportunity to go to the job fair and made sure that he met with an HR representative from Cooper Standard. He gave them his resume and began talking to them about opportunities within their company. They were looking for someone to fill production positions, a position in which he wasn’t interested, but they told him they were also looking for a Shipping and Receiving Manager, a position that had not yet been posted.

Jason was later hired as the shipping and receiving supervisor and he says that he has enjoyed the veteran friendly atmosphere of the company. He continues to work with the Upstate Veterans Business Network to help connect veterans with valuable employment and to educate them on available opportunities. He says, “The Upstate Veteran Business Network is time well spent and helps highly purpose driven veterans feel like their service to our great nation is valued by the citizens they put their lives on the line to protect.”


DEW employee works hand-in-hand with economic developers


Tiffany Jaspers says she is a translator.

As the business economic development manager for the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), Jaspers reaches out to local officials to find out what skills and talents their workforce has and translates that information for economic developers in their efforts to attract businesses to their areas.

Jaspers certainly understands the roles economic developers play. Before joining DEW a few months ago, she worked in economic development for Lexington County.

The other part of her job is letting industry associations and chambers of commerce know what information and services the agency can provide.

“I spend all my time with economic developers and industry-related associations,” she said. “When I meet with them I simply ask ‘what is going on?’ It’s more of a listening session and then I can determine ways to help.”

And when she meets with someone she takes them something of value, such as our workforce data which extremely important for economic developers, she said.

While Jaspers doesn’t work directly with individual businesses, she recognizes that each business is different and programs and services must be tailored to their specific needs. But first she must get out to the businesses through the chambers and associations what services DEW can provide.

You can reach Jaspers at


Can you contest your tax rate?

Can you contest your tax rate?

Having recently received your 2017 tax rate notice, you may have questions about how they are determined or disagree with the rate given to your business. So what do you do?

Unfortunately, South Carolina laws governing the tax rate assignment do not provide for an appeals process. However, if you disagree with the historical information contained in your notice of contribution rate you can submit a written request for a review within 30 days from the date on the notice. You must submit your request, along with any documentation of errors either by email at, fax 803-737-2862 or by mail at:

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce
Experience Rate Section
P.O. Box 995
Columbia, SC 29202

The tax rates, according to state law, adjust automatically each year based on a formula that considers the following:

  • Projected benefit costs for the year (“base rate”)
  • Projected amount required to return the Trust Fund to an adequate balance by 2020 (“solvency surcharge”)

Tax rates are set each year to fund these components. Each employer is also responsible for a Departmental Administrative Contingency Assessment (DACA) surcharge of 0.06 percent which is added to the base rate and interest surcharge:

Total Tax Rate = Base Rate + Solvency Surcharge + DACA

If you have additional questions, you can contact the employer tax services line at 803-737-3080. To view the 2017 Tax Rate Chart click here.

Walgreens is a model of inclusiveness

There is no “them” at the Walgreens distribution center in Anderson.

The 1 million-square-foot distribution center has become the model for hiring people with disabilities. Currently, about 40 percent of the center’s staff is made up of people with a registered disability. Recently the State Workforce Development Board Priority Population committee toured the facility to learn about the company’s practices.

Randy Lewis, Walgreen’s senior vice president of supply chain and logistics, implemented the idea of hiring people with disabilities as a result of his personal experience of having a son with a disability.

The company provides work environments that are inclusive that include visuals on the work process, touch screens computers with large icons and flexible workstations.

The company works with S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation, which works with the client during a 12-week training period. After that time, the company may offer the individual a full-time job. The company has said people with disabilities receive the same pay and work beside with all other employees.

“People with disabilities like to work. They want to be here,” said Lasandra Aiken, with the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department in Anderson. She added that she has placed 54 clients with the company and has had only two quit.


SC Works Waccamaw helps woman connect with “tailor-made” job

DBallennie Ball began an extended visit to Myrtle Beach in August 2014 from Pennsylvania at the urging of her close friends who had relocated to South Carolina a few years prior.  After taking a few months to get acquainted, Ms. Ball decided to create an account on SC Works Online Services to begin looking for work in the area. After creating her account, she came into the Coastal SC Works Center to receive assistance in completing her profile. She sat down with Career Development Specialist Mackenzie Ricard and worked to create a stellar resume that would draw employers’ eyes to her many talents.

With past experience in the human resources field, Ms. Ball was interested in obtaining work within her chosen profession.  She and Ms. Ricard searched to locate potential positions within the region that would satisfy her desires.  With very few jobs in the human resources field appearing in Horry County during the seasonal decline, this focus shifted. The two began to search for work that could broaden Ms. Ball’s existing skill sets.  An opportunity arose with Olsten Staffing, who began hiring call center representatives for StarTek, a new company in the area.  Having always been behind the scenes in past work experience, Ms. Ball was eager to gain skills working one-on-one with clients while providing superb customer service.

Ms. Ball was hired in November 2014 with Olsten Staffing to work for StarTek, but she maintained an understanding that the job would be temporary. Knowing the instability of temporary work assignments, Ms. Ball and Ms. Ricard continued searching for human resources positions. After much patience and perseverance, Ms. Ball applied for a position with Garden City Realty.  During the waiting and interviewing stage of the hiring process Ms. Ball continued to work for Olsten.  Just as one opportunity was coming to an end, she was offered a full time position as a human resources manager with Garden City Realty in January 2015 and gladly accepted.

When the Waccamaw SC Works team recently reached out to Ms. Ball, she commented: “I was very impressed by the efficiency of SC Works and the ongoing assistance provided during my job search.  Ms. Ricard was wonderful to work with and an immense help in drafting my resume and bringing potential jobs to my notice.  I would highly recommend job seekers to reach out to SC Works.”

Ms. Ball is happily employed and loving her work environment. Surrounded by warm and friendly coworkers, she feels as if the job was tailor-made just for her.

SC Works Hartsville helps Army veteran start new career

WilliamsAfter two successful tours of duty in Korea and Ft. Stewart, Dehaven Williams decided to return to his home of Hartsville, South Carolina to seek employment.

He left the military with an inability to perform certain tasks that required standing for long periods of time. Mr. Williams was looking to turn the chapter on careers, and with these limitations in mind, he sought the assistance of his local Veterans staff located in the SC Works Hartsville center.

Mr. Williams explained to SC Works staff that he had developed a service related disability while serving in the military, but that he was determined to find gainful employment in the civilian workforce. Through veteran services and case management, Mr. Williams found employment at AO Smith in McBee, South Carolina, where he worked on the assembly line. Unfortunately, because this particular job required standing for long periods of time, it had the potential to make his disability worse.

With this in mind, the DVOP referred Mr. Williams to the hiring fair that was scheduled to take place at SC Works Hartsville. The event, sponsored by Palmetto Goodwill and coordinated by the LVER Keisha Bolden, proved to be the opportunity that he could take advantage of. Mr. Williams said that the Goodwill employers were impressed with his resume and character.

Within the first week of being interviewed, he received an offer from Goodwill for employment as a sales associate.

Mr. Williams says he is excited about his new position working in the receiving department and states that he hopes to soon obtain a management position.

Disabled Navy veteran begins “phase two”

BeckworthRobert Beckworth had a complicated employment history. A former Machinist Mate with the United States Navy, Beckworth was serving a 30 year federal prison sentence when he found out he was eligible for early release. After finding himself a free man 13 years earlier than expected, he made his way to SC Works McAlister Square Greenville in November of 2015.

SCWorks center representatives evaluated Beckworth to help determine his best employment opportunities; however, he was found to have multiple Significant Barriers to Employment (SBE’s). He was referred to Disabled Veteran Outreach Program representative (DVOP) Carolyn Washington.  Although he needed a place to stay, a job and basic computer skill training, Washington was impressed by Beckworth’s attitude towards life and his dedication to being successful. Despite his hurdles, he told Washington that he wanted commercial driver’s license (CDL) training in order to advance himself.   Washington referred Beckworth to the Alston Wilkes Society for help with housing and to the public library for one-on-one computer training. He was referred to Laura Eggleton, who introduced him to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. Eggleton also helped him schedule a WorkKeys® testing opportunity to identify his skillset.

He stayed diligent in his search for a job and got a position with McDonalds after attending an SC Works recruitment event. While continuing to work there for several more months, Beckworth learned in February that his application for CDL training had been approved through WIOA, covering his educational expenses. He graduated the Truck Driver Training Course just over two months later and received his CDL-A license. This month, he will be travelling to Kentucky to attend orientation for his new job with PTL Trucking Company in Greenville, SC.

In an email to Washington, Beckworth wrote “Now phase two of my life starts.” He is grateful for a second chance to be a productive citizen. Because of the teamwork between the SCDEW Veterans Outreach Office and the SC Works WIOA program, he has been given another opportunity to succeed.

JAG student honored for work in food bank

When Yetzibel Santos first arrived in America, she was shy, sad, and didn’t speak any English. She and her family moved to the United States when she was 7-years-old in hopes of a better life. However, the language barrier made it very hard for her family to find fair housing, and they were frequently taken advantage of without the means to defend themselves.

Fast forward to today and Yetzibel Santos is someone completely different. Now she is the recipient of the JAG Executive Director Award, the state Governor’s Award, and is the Cayce West Columbia Rotary Club’s Student of the Month for April 2016. She has spent the last year as the Career Association President of JAG, serving as a model of energy and motivation for her fellow students. Santos is described by her JAG coordinator as a “courageous young lady who has not only overcome unimaginable circumstances just to survive, but has also managed to leave an indelible mark on the world as she successfully approaches her high school graduation.”

JAG stands for Jobs for America’s Graduates, a program coordinated by DEW and designed to prevent students from dropping out of high school as well as teach them necessary workforce skills. Some of these skills include how to interview, how to dress properly for the job, how to be on time, as well as other good work habits. A major turning point for Santos’ self-awareness happened while in the JAG program. Santos stepped up to translate and advocate for her family when they were about to lose their home. She used her leadership skills to help them get the representation they needed.

“They saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself,” Santos said in an interview last September on her experience in JAG.

JAG students at Swansea High School run the food bank for the district which has a high prevalence of minority, working class and poor residents. The JAG food bank aids some of the district’s students and their families who may not have enough to eat at home. When Santos first saw the JAG food bank she was inspired and knew that someday she wanted to be the one running the show. For the past four years the Swansea High School Food Pantry has been Yetzibel’s passion.

Santos was previously featured in the September 2015 DEWsletter for her extraordinary growth in the JAG program. Once an at-risk student, Santos is now a soon-to-be graduate as well as a role model for her community. DEW is excited for Santos’s accomplishments and looks forward to hearing more of her successes in the future.

SC Works in Florence helps Navy veteran re-enter the workforce


On June of 2015, John Rice came to the Florence SC Works Center depressed. He had recently been released by his doctor to work, but had been on disability insurance for 12 years and wasn’t sure how to start. He initially did not want the assistance of a veteran representative because he had only served nine months in the U.S. Navy at age 17 before being honorably discharged. He felt he did not deserve the “veteran” title. Sheila Glenn, DVOP, introduced herself to John, explaining veteran services and why his military service did indeed deserve the veteran privileges offered by DEW, regardless of the amount of time in the Navy.

John was concerned because he only had experience in construction and could no longer do that type of work due to his medical conditions. He had to make a career change, but did not have a high school diploma or GED.

At first, his main focus was to find work immediately. The center helped him create a resume, and he was referred to employers that did not require a high school diploma and would accept his current skill set.

After a few months with no progress, he realized how important it was to have a high school diploma or GED.  John was referred to Darlington County Adult Ed and was led through the process to set-up accounts for AZTEC, a GED practice test, and Career Ready 101, a practice WorkKeys® test. John started the GED program in September 2015 and received his GED certificate in December 2015. He took the WorkKeys® test and passed at the gold level.

That same month SC Works contacted Olsten Staffing regarding John’s test scores and inquired if there was any way to get him placed at Honda of SC. John reported to Olsten Staffing the same morning with the required paperwork and was called back before the holidays to start work the first part of January 2016.

John said he didn’t think he would have made the decision to go back to school if it wasn’t for Sheila Glenn’s encouragement and how he would not have been able to get the job without his GED. John is appreciative and feels indebted to Sheila for all that she has done to motivate and help him get back in the workforce after 12 years.

Worker Ends Long Job Search

DragooMs. Amy Dragoo had been out of work for a year when she contacted Resource Specialist Libby Geddes at the Bennettsville SC Works. Amy was a CNA with several years of experience who expressed interest in local healthcare jobs. Geddes informed Dragoo of the newly-opened McLeod Hospital in Cheraw and showed Dragoo how to apply online for her desired position.

Within days, Dragoo contacted Geddes to let her know that she had received a call to come for an interview at McLeod, but was concerned becauseshe didn’t have professional attire to wear to her interview. Geddes referred Dragoo to the local Goodwill where she obtained a professional-looking outfit for her interview.

Dragoo has since informed DEW that she is gainfully employed as a CNA at McLeod in Cheraw. She continued to say that Geddes gave her the motivation needed to follow her dreams of continuing to work in a hospital setting