2018 JAG-SC Career Development Conference

On April 19, the 2018 Jobs for America’s Graduates – South Carolina (JAG-SC) Career Development Conference was held as students from across the state came together to compete in a day of competitive events that reflect this year’s theme, Ignite the Flame.

JAG is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk.

In total, 23 high schools and 2 middle schools participated at the conference bringing 576 registered competitors to the event. After collecting the most points, Wade Hampton High School won the event and came home as the 2018 State Champions.

Students competed in a total of 12 events that range from public speaking to interviewing skills to poetry and more. One of the events is the Student’s In Action event. Team members are charged with creating and carrying out various projects that help their communities throughout the year. This year, Swansea High School advances to the Ambassador level with Jefferson Awards Students In Action for statewide competition and Rock Hill High School came in First Place at the conference.

Nathaniel Winch from Swansea High School was awarded the Governor’s Award. This award is given annually to recognize the student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and commitment to their JAG goals.

SUITS Spotlight | Authenticating vs. Registering

In order to set up an account with the new State Unemployment Insurance Tax System (SUITS) you either have to authenticate or register. What’s the difference and how do you know which one is right for your business or client? This quick guide should answer your questions and get you set up and ready to use SUITS.

In a nutshell, registration is for businesses that have no previous tax history with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and authentication is for businesses who have a tax history with the agency.

If you are a business that:
• is new,
• has never filed wage records or wage reports, or
• has recently changed from a non-liable to liable* employer,
You will REGISTER for a new account.

If you are a business that:
• had an account in SCATS,
• had an account through SCBOS,
• filed wage reports in the past – even if you only filed by paper,
• is a liable* employer,
You will AUTHENTICATE your existing account.

If you have an account number with DEW, the agency wants you to be able to login to SUITS in a way that will link you to your existing history and information with DEW. The authentication process is a way of securely identifying your business in order to allow you to view your system data.

What about the TPAs?

If you are an agent that:
• has always filed wage reports through your client’s account and never created an agent account, or
• are a new TPA business,
You will REGISTER for a new account.

If you are an agent that:
• created an agent ID in SCATS, or
• created an agent ID in SCBOS,
You will AUTHENTICATE your existing account.

If you have created an agent ID with the agency, the goal is to help you authenticate/login to SUITS in a way that will link you to your existing history, information and clients with DEW. The authentication process is a way of securely identifying your business in order to allow you to view your system data.
To begin the authentication process, make sure you have an account number for a client for whom you have a UCE-1010 Written Authorization and then call the agency at 803-737-2400, option 3, option 3, option 1.

When you first access your account, employers for whom you have an UCE-1010 on file with DEW will populate into your agent account. If you have accounts for which you need to submit a UCE-1010, these can be uploaded in SUITS.

To begin registration or authentication, visit https://uitax.dew.sc.gov/.

If you have questions about the registration or authentication process you can contact the agency at SUITS@dew.sc.gov.

*A liable employer is determined by several factors about a business including number of employees and wages paid in a calendar year. Based on the information you supply, DEW determines if you are liable for UI tax contributions. If liable, you will receive your employer account number at the end of the registration process.

SC Works Veteran Services

As a veteran, it may seem overwhelming when trying to land your first civilian job coming out of the military, but  SC Works is here for you. Through the assistance of our Disabled Veterans Outreach Program representatives (DVOPs) and Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVERs) veterans receive priority of service when looking for a job and someone to help guide them through this process.

If you, or someone you know, is a veteran or service member looking for employment visit: https://dew.sc.gov/individuals/veterans-services for more resources.

He Achieved his American Dream of Freedom

Lasisi with Angela HunterFriday Lasisi came to the United States from Nigeria in search of what many Americans take for granted—freedom. Freedom that includes the privilege of working to earn a good living and support a family.

However, finding a job was challenging, and after being unemployed for some time, he came in contact with his local SC Works Center. They set up a meeting to talk about his skills, the local job market and how the representatives could assist him with his job search.

During the conference with his workforce specialist, he mentioned he had been a water welder in Nigeria. A valuable skill to have, the workforce specialist reviewed his welding background and his other qualifications and then began the work of finding the right employer. Four days. That was all it took. Within four days of his referral to an employer, he was awarded a job as a welder. Eager and excited, Mr. Lasisi took the job, ready to begin his American career.

While many employment and hiring agencies would consider their work complete, the SC Works centers like to check in with individuals. Touching base and talking about job satisfaction are an important part of ensuring long-term employment success as well as giving the representatives the opportunity for self-assessment to make sure they are helping jobseekers in the most effective manner.

When Mr. Lasisi was visited by his workforce specialist one afternoon after a shift, and asked what he enjoyed the most about his new job, he said, “everyone is so nice to him and he is so grateful for the opportunity to work.” Mr. Lasisi has achieved his American dream of freedom.

He set his standards high, and that meant success for his future

When Travis Orange was releatravissed from prison, he had no employment history outside of the work he did while incarcerated. Knowing that he needed a skill set or job experience to find successful long-term employment, he sought out his local SC Works center.

When Mr. Orange came into the center he was ready to get to work. Travis said, “It wasn’t easy for me to get back into society, but I was determined to set my standards high. I knew that if I set my standards high enough, it would mean great success for my future.” With help from a workforce consultant, he was able to create a strong resume that detailed the experience gained through assigned positions that related to the civilian workforce and a compelling letter of explanation to utilize during his application process.

Mr. Orange was referred to several positions through SC Works and to several staffing agencies throughout the Grand Strand. IHT Staffing hired him for several days as a trial period. His dedication and enthusiasm was so contagious, he was referred for two different jobs, one as a laundry attendant at Beach Cove Resort and another as a dishwasher for Dunes Golf and Beach Club. After speaking with both employers, Orange was able to make a schedule where he could work both jobs in order to establish a solid work history with a positive reputation and references for future opportunities.

During his time at Beach Cove Resort and Dunes Golf and Beach Club he put in overtime and made himself available to help cover shifts, had perfect attendance, completed all of the job duties and more that were expected of him and was a great team player. His efforts and teamwork earned the praise and dedication of his coworkers and supervisors.

After several weeks of working through the staffing agency, Dune’s Club hired Mr. Orange as a full-time employee. This was particularly special because it was something that usually wouldn’t happen due to his background and company policy. However, the hiring manager was open to the idea because several coworkers wrote recommendation letters to speak of his character, and he proved time and time again that he was a dedicated and strong employee.

Mr. Orange said, “Even though I’m a steward, as my supervisor calls it, I do the best job at it because one day I am going to be more than that. There is opportunity that awaits me at the Dunes Club. The staff is great and there are people in the world that do believe in giving convicted felons another chance. It is up to the individual to get out and get the job done.”

Hackers target jobseekers

In this day and age many applications, interviews, etc. are being filled out and exchanged electronically. The issue this poses in the workforce sector is hackers pretending to be interested employers.

The Wall Street Journal published an article called Hackers Target Millennial Jobseekers that highlights personal experiences as well as tips on things to be wary of in the job search process. The article calls out fake recruiters that send legitimate looking applications which actually contain malware.

If a hacker successfully places malware on your computer personal identification numbers or details, bank or credit card numbers, and passwords are subject to be tampered with or stolen.

Rather than worrying about the validity of a job prospect, you can register for a free SC Works Online Service account at jobs.scworks.gov. The SC Works system pulls job offers from all the major job databases such as Government sites, business sites like hospitals and manufacturers, and major career sites like Indeed. In addition, businesses who register in the SC Works system go through a verification process to help ensure that they are a valid employer, and the system is set up for data scrubbing to help filter out duplicates and job offers that are suspect.

With your account you can not only apply for jobs through the system, you can:

  • Upload your resume,
  • Keep track of certifications that you receive,
  • Enjoy education tools at your fingertips,
  • Use labor market information to refine your job search,
  • And much more.

If you are having trouble navigating the site, there are workforce consultants at SC Works centers around the state to assist you. To find your local center, click here.

While a job offer that advertises “no experience needed” or “hiring entry level today” might be enticing and seem convincing, if you receive information about a job through your email or an online search that you want to explore, there are a few things to look for:

  • The biggest identifier is that they ask for personal details—more information than you would put on your cover letter. Information like your date of birth, bank details, etc. may be asked by an employer, but only after a formal offer has been given, and by this time you should be informed about who will be contacting you about this information.
  • Bad grammar is often in scam emails. If your email has a lot of exclamation marks or too many capital letters it may be spam.
  • Your skills don’t matter. If they give you details about the role, but care very little about the skills you will be bringing to the table, it is likely that it is a scam.
  • Instant job offer. Imagine looking for a job for months and then suddenly a job offer hits your email inbox, it’s like it is too good to be true—well it probably is. If they haven’t taken the time to reach out to you prior to this email then they are most likely scamming you.

You can access an additional tips to protect you email from credit.com.

Palmetto Health: A driving force behind the S.C. Talent Pipeline

“There are nearly 30,000 high school students enrolled in health services across the state of South Carolina,” says Angel Clark, Education Associate with the S.C. Department of Education.

When looking at the future of the healthcare field this number becomes important. Not only has healthcare been chosen as one of the leading sectors through the State Workforce Development Board’s S.C. Talent Pipeline initiative, but it is also has a strong presence among leading occupations in most regions.

Palmetto Health is leading innovative efforts to prepare for a skilled workforce. By working with schools, K-12 and secondary education, they are able to help them develop curriculums and offer a wide variety of programs with a range of experiences for all levels to expose students to necessary skillsets.

Pressley Denado Dickson, Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Midlands Technical College (MTC), says that MTC has a strong partnership with Palmetto Health. The nursing program is one of their most popular degree tracks and Palmetto Health helps design their curriculum so the candidates have the required skills when they are ready to enter the workforce. This partnership is a win-win for both parties; the students learn the specific skillsets they need with real time applications, and the hospital system has access to a qualified pool of candidates.

Palmetto Health invests in high schoolers as well. Karen Edwards, Health Science and Sports Medicine Teacher at Spring Hill High School, says that filling the classes with eager participants has never been an issue. Having Palmetto Health involved in the educational process early on allows students to test-drive the field to determine whether it is the field they want to pursue, and it provides them hands-on experiences. In fact, starting their junior year, students can begin coursework.  The following year they complete 90 clinical hours and their internship requirements.

Valerie Richardson, Workforce, Organization and Talent Development Manager at Palmetto Health and member of the State Workforce Development Board, says “We provide clinical rotations for high school seniors who are enrolled in the Health Sciences Clinical Studies course.  After the rotation, high school seniors are able to challenge the exam and obtain the Certified Nurse Assistant credential.   This credential could be the beginning of a health science career and at the end of the day, education is all about our students becoming contributing members of society and building the talent pipeline of our future.”

Ex-Offender that was given a second chance

Keith spent 17 years in prison, and once he was released he struggled to find meaningful employment. He was repeatedly turned away from the jobs for which he applied, losing hope and becoming depressed. While completing an application with an employer, it asked him to state his experience and he wrote, “I just need someone to give me a chance.”

During one September day, Keith walked into an SC Works Center in the Lowcountry, not knowing what to expect. He began working with Michelle Adams, a workforce consultant. It was a struggle to find Keith a job, at first. Michelle had followed up with the employer that Keith had initially filled out an application with, and the employer responded, “We don’t want people like that working here.”

After several failed attempts, Michelle then called a business in Bluffton, and when she told the employer about Keith and his story, the general manager of the company told her to send him over.

They offered Keith a job because of the value they saw he would bring to the company.  Recently the employer sent an update to Michelle and said Keith is a hard worker and is doing fantastic in his new position.

After speaking with Keith, Michelle said that he is extremely happy.

Added bus service providing employment, education opportunities

Tonya Appel has already seen the effects the two new Horry County bus routes have had on her clients.

As the business development specialist for Vocational Rehabilitation in Horry and Georgetown counties, part of her job is to help clients find work. Since the new routes went into effect, some of the clients in the areas now being served have found employment, she said.

In June, the State Workforce Development Board awarded six $100,000 grants to local workforce areas around the state to help provide reliable transportation to people who don’t have it. The Worklink Workforce Development Area, which includes Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties, and the Waccamaw Workforce Development Area, which includes Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties, are two of the areas that have received a grant.

SWDB realizes that not having reliable transportation is a major barrier to employment and training opportunities for people wanting to work.

“Finding people a job is only half the battle. We also need to make sure that reliable transportation is available to take them to their job and training sites,” said Cheryl Stanton, DEW’s executive director. “That’s why we are thrilled to provide these grants, because providing transportation is key to ensuring workers can make it to their jobs and to helping businesses retain and grow their workforce.”

In the Waccamaw area, Coast RTA is using the money to help implement express routes from Bucksport and Loris to Conway.  These routes have expanded access to employment and training opportunities in Horry County for approximately 3,000 Bucksport and Loris residents.

The key to the success Appel is seeing with her clients is the training that Coast RTA provided them about how to ride the bus when the new routes were launched, she said. The organization has now added the training to its Career Club program so all their clients learn how to ride.

After taking the class, one client said she was going to go to the beach and get a job at the hotel where her sister lives. And she did, Appel said.

During last week’s official unveiling of the routes, Brian Piascik, general manager of Coast RTA, said this pilot program will operate through at least February 2019, while he works on a plan to keep it running after that time.

The buses run three trips a day from Bucksport and Loris. He added that Bucksport and Loris riders can now access educational opportunities at Coastal Carolina University, Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Miller Motte and the SC Works Center, as well as to jobs in Conway and Myrtle Beach, he said. The buses started running on Aug. 14.

“These routes really open up a world for people to get training and find jobs,” Piascik said.

Brittain Resorts, which owns 10 resorts, five Starbuck stores and one restaurant, is a supporter of the expanded routes as it looks for workers. Melissa Bilka, director of Human Resources and Staff Development, said they have heard from people who would like to work at the beach but don’t because they have a hard time getting there.

So the company partnered with Coast RTA and now has started offering bus transportation for any of its employees who want to use it.

In the Worklink area, service is being provided to residents in far reaches of Anderson County – the towns of Honea Path and Belton.

“Grants like this allow the Worklink board to solve problems in our communities in innovative ways. The core purpose of the board is to strive to improve the workforce and the quality of life in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties by being the vehicle for workforce development,” said Mike Wallace, chairman of the Worklink Area Development Board.

“We all know the impact of providing good transportation options in area where they may have previously been limited to individuals. Good transportation allows people to look for new employment opportunities, retain their positions and gain access to education and training.”

The service will also provide people in other parts of Anderson County the ability to seek opportunities in parts of the community that would have previously been off limits due to the lack of transportation, he said.

Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, said to have transportation will allow people to do the theings they need to do.

“Do you know what it must feel like to live out in our beautiful county but don’t have a car or a driver’s license? You are home bound. This opens the door to opportunities to all the people in our county, not to just some people,” she said.

The mayors of Belton and Honea Path said this will bring opportunities to the people of their towns.

“Some 12 years ago, I started working on this. Here we are in Honea Path, at tail end of the county, and we have people needing to go to the doctor, students who want to go to Tri-County Tech. This is a big step forward to get people to jobs and help the young people coming out of high school continue their education. If we get behind this thing, it will be a big success,” Honea Path Mayor Lollis Meyers said.


About DEW

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) 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. DEW 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.