SWDB delivers workforce solutions

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the State Workforce Development Board (SWDB) newsletter. This monthly publication will provide you with information regarding the work being done to create and promote a ready and skilled workforce. The board, chaired by Mikee Johnson CEO of Cox Industries, provides direction to the state’s workforce system on issues pertaining to labor force development, particularly those concerning the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The mission of SWDB is to create a competitive workforce advantage for South Carolina by ensuring that a quality and effective workforce system exists in order to improve the prosperity of businesses and the lives of South Carolinians.

The board is comprised of a majority of business leaders. Other members include legislators of the South Carolina Senate and House, local elected officials, workforce partners and representatives of community-based organizations. Members of the board are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of Gov. Nikki Haley.

Two issues the board has initiated are the S.C. Talent Pipeline and SC Work Ready Communities project.

S.C. Talent Pipeline is the newest initiative where the state workforce system has partnered with the S.C. Department of Commerce, S.C. Department of Education and the S.C. Technical College System to provide a workforce supply chain for the state’s growing industries.

S.C. Talent Pipeline strategies take a comprehensive, broad-based approach to identifying and addressing skill needs across key industries within a region rather than focusing on the workforce needs of individual businesses on a case-by-case, transactional basis.

The local groups will be relying on businesses to provide input on job skills needed now and in the future.

The Work Ready Communities project has grown substantially as South Carolina has become the first state in the nation to have all of its counties certified as Work Ready. Under this program and the use of WorkKeys testing, employers can match jobseekers wit jobs based on their skill sets and individuals can identify careers that align with their results.

The certification allows the county to demonstrate to potential businesses that they can provide them with a skilled workforce.

The board is working on many other projects from apprenticeships to incumbent workers training all to support South Carolina businesses.

SC Works Hartsville helps Army veteran start new career

Dehaven Williams successfully completed two tours of duty in Ft. Stewart, GA and then Korea before returning home to Hartsville, GA to seek employment.

Because Mr. Williams left the military with a service-related disability that prohibits him from performing certain tasks that require prolonged standing, he was concerned about his options in the job market.

He reached out to the veterans staff in the SC Works Hartsville center. Through veteran services and case management he was offered a position with AO Smith in McBee, a leading manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters. Unfortunately, it turned out this position required long periods of standing which had the potential of making Mr. Williams disability worse.

Determined to find successful civilian employment, Mr. Williams talked further with a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) at the Hartsville work center. The DVOP referred him to a local hiring fair sponsored by Palmetto Goodwill and was coordinated by Local Veteran’s Employment Representative (LVER), Keisha Bolden.

Goodwill employers were impressed by his resume, character and flawless interview. Only one week later he received an offer of employment as a sales associate.

Mr. Williams says that he is excited about his new position and has set his goals toward a future management position.

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.

 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available for two counties affected by Hurricane Matthew

For Immediate Release

October 17, 2016

Disaster Unemployment Assistance available
for two counties affected by Hurricane Matthew

COLUMBIA – Gov. Nikki Haley and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce announced today that Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be made available to assist people who became unemployed as a direct result of Hurricane Matthew.

The counties included in the DUA program are Marion and Orangeburg counties. Other counties may be added at a later date.

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

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.

Individuals must first apply for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. To apply, call 1-866-831-1724 or go to mybenefits.dew.sc.gov. The deadline for applying is 30 calendar days from the date that DEW announces the availability of DUA in the county. If the individual is found to be ineligible for UI benefits, a DEW representative will contact them directly and will assist with the DUA application.

Applications filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and DUA benefits may be denied unless the individual provides good cause for filing after that date. Applicants must submit their Social Security number, check stubs and other documentation to support the claim that they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. In some cases, additional documentation may be required.

Please check www.dew.sc.gov/dua for updates on this program.

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About SCDEW

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.

Statement on August 2016 Unemployment Rate

For Immediate Release

Sept. 20, 2016

DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton’s Statement

August 2016 Employment Statement

“South Carolina’s economy continued its robust growth in August as the state’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since May 2001. When businesses decide to expand or locate here, they are showing confidence that a pool of skilled workers is available,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “In the last year, more than 54,000 people have found work and are again providing for themselves. However, we still have work to do in finding jobs for the 117,000 unemployed.”

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About SCDEW

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.

Employment Situation for August 2016

For Immediate Release

Sept. 20, 2016

 

South Carolina’s Employment Situation August 2016

 Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.1 Percent,

Fourth Consecutive Monthly Drop

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped for the fourth consecutive month to 5.1 percent in August from 5.2 percent in July.

Unemployment fell by 3,856 people to 116,998. Employment also decreased by 2,009 to 2,180,876. This resulted in a decline in the labor force of 5,865 to 2,297,874. Since August 2015, employment has increased by 54,553 along with an increase of 45,086 for the labor force. Unemployment fell by 9,467.

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

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)

Seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment in August increased by 5,700 over the month to a record high level of 2,060,800.

 Industries experiencing employment increases were Education and Health Services (+2,600); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,400); Other Services (+900); Manufacturing (+400); Information (+300); Construction (+200); Financial Activities (+200); and Professional and Business Services (+100). Government employment remained the same, and Leisure and Hospitality (-400) noted a decline.

Compared to August 2015, seasonally adjusted, nonfarm employment increased 50,500 with upswings in Professional and Business Services (+13,100); Education and Health Services (+11,200); Government (+8,800); Construction (+5,400); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+4,500); Financial Activities (+3,700); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,100); Manufacturing (+2,000); and Other Services (+300). Information (-700) saw a dip in payroll.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted2)

From July to August, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment tallied an increase of 1,600 to a level of 2,056,600. Historically, employment experiences growth during August as schools gear up for the fall semester. The rise was due to increases in Education and Health Services (+3,300); Government (+2,000); Other Services (+900); and Financial Activities (+100). Losses occurred in Leisure and Hospitality (-2,500); Professional and Business Services (-1,300); and Construction (-900). There was no movement in Mining and Logging; Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; and Information during the month of August.

Year over year, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs improved (+43,700) with growth in Professional and Business Services (+12,600); Education and Health Services (+9,400); Government (+5,300); Construction (+5,200); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,900); Financial Activities (+2,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,600); Manufacturing (+2,200); Mining and Logging (+100); and Other Services (+100). Information (-500) fell slightly.

 

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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What Not to Wear: Interview Edition

what-not-to-wear

bob

 

Job interviews are a big deal. Knowing what to wear to one is an even bigger deal. Many employers create a perception about you the minute that you walk through the door, so dressing for career success is very important. While something might be fine to wear once you already have a job, it might not be the first impression statement you want to make on a potential employer.

When it comes to dressing for an interview there are many obvious and not-so-obvious clothing choices, but some statements to steer clear of might be pretty subtle. So DEW staff went to their closets to help distinguish what trends, fashion statements and outfits you should stray away from when going to a job interview.

mens-shorts

Even if you are applying for a position within a workplace that is considered laid-back, overly casual clothes can be ill-perceived as lazy. Shorts, shirts or other pieces of clothing with name brands written across the chest, hats, etc. are all things that you should choose not to wear to your interview.

Upon first glance, this outfit might actually seem okay, and for the most part it is. She has closed-toe shoes, black slacks and a black blazer on, which are all great articles of clothing tshirtto wear to an interview. What doesn’t work for this outfit is the green t-shirt. Even by trying to dress it up, it is too casual. Instead pair the great outfit with a nice blouse.

 

 

 

 

Have you ever heard the saying, “too mpearlsuch of a good thing?” This outfit would be a great choice for an interview if she had chosen to wear just one strand of pearls. While layering pieces is a big trend right now, an overabundance of any kind of jewelry makes for a distracting statement. Your potential employer may be inclined to pay more attention to your accessories than what you are saying in your interview. Also be careful not to choose jewelry that is too flashy. A good rule of thumb is to choose a simple stud earring. If adding more jewelry is appropriate with the outfit you have chosen to wear, pair the simple earrings with an equally simple necklace OR bracelet, not both.

tie

Novelty clothing is fun, and can be a way that you like to show your personality. Ties that have Fourth of July fireworks or Santa Claus, or shirts that designed with camo or have fun designs on them might be something that you refrain from wearing in an interview.

What you should choose to wear instead is a solid button-up dress shirt. Great colors to pick are white or a light blue camodepending on the suit color, which includes dress pants, a jacket and button-up shirt. If you do decide to go with a tie that has design on it, make sure that it is subtle like stripes or even something that looks like the tie pictured. Just remember that not every tie goes with every shirt. The color of your tie should also complement the other colors of your outfit.

shoesLike clothing, shoes have to be carefully chosen for an interview. Great examples of a too casual shoe are tennis shoes and even Sperry’s.

For men, a nice business shoe that goes with the color of your suit is the most appropriate choice.

As a woman, refrain from wearing shoes that are more appropriate for the weekend or evening than they are for the office. You may have some interview jitters, and the last thing you should worry about is whether or not you are going to trip in shoes like the ones pictured. Some tips when choosing shoes for your interview outfit are:

  • your shoes should be closed-toe.
  • nude and black colored shoes are the two best colors.
  • you can wear flats or heels, but if you choose heels, find a pair that is only about two inches tall.

 

 

What about pants? Trends come and go, leggingsbut leggings have stuck around for a while. Some people try to make them interview appropriate by pairing them with a nice blouse or shirt, but that doesn’t mean they work. If you are going to wear pants, wear a nice pair of slacks.

 

 

 

colored-pants

For men and women alike, colored pants are something you should not choose to wear to an interview. Like many other pieces of clothing in this article, they are a bit too flashy. You should choose pants that are blue, black or grey because these colors convey confidence and are not distracting.

 

Women’s fashion is ever dressy-pantsevolving because – who wants to wear dull clothing? Certainly not these ladies in the pants that DEW refers to as ‘fancy pants’. While they are a bit dressier than jeans, they aren’t dressy enough for an interview. Any kind of designed pants should be left at home on the hanger, at least while you are in your interview.

 

These are just a few of the more common of the items shouldn’t be worn to an interview. Some things to think about when you are trying to pick out your outfit are:

  • Blues, black and greys are the best colors because they are conservative in what should be a conservative environment. The website Style Caster wrote an article about what the colors that you wear to an interview can mean to an employer. Check it out here.
  • Now that you know what not to wear, you are probably wondering what you should wear. Go to The Balance where they have written Interview outfits for Women and Interview outfits for Men and offer even more advice about style tips for your next interview.
  • If you have to ask yourself, “Is this appropriate?” just go ahead and change clothes so that your attention isn’t anywhere but the interview.

If you are in need of business attire there are plenty of places that you can go to find great deals. Most times you can find great business casual clothing at local consignment shops, and this includes Goodwill. If you do choose to shop with Goodwill, every purchase goes toward providing workforce programs and services to those in need. You can learn more about those programs and services here.

Ultimately our goal is to get all South Carolinians back to work, and that starts with the first impression. Make it a great one.

 

The 10 most important things you can do to stand out at a job fair

 

Get ready for job fair

Attending a job fair is a great way to have several mini-interviews and expose yourself and your capabilities to several companies in a few hours’ time. However, not properly preparing could result in wasting your day and networking opportunities, or even worse, making a bad impression on potential employers.

Here are 10 things you can do to ensure you are prepared for success:

  1. Make sure that your resume and cover letter are up to date.

You never want to get to a job fair and realize that you left off key information, like a volunteering experience or your last job. Take the time to sit down and go over your resume and cover letter thoroughly so that when it comes time to hand it to the recruiting manager, you feel confident. If you need assistance writing your resume and/or cover letter, all of our SC Works centers provide one-on-one assistance and many provide a free resume workshop. To find the nearest SC Works office and view their workshop calendar, click here.

  1. Find out what companies are going to be at the event.

You want to know who will be at the event for a couple of reasons. First, you should check out their mission statement and their values to see if they correspond with your own set of beliefs. Second, take a look at the company’s portfolio and figure out what kind of business they do. If it doesn’t interest you then don’t go to their table so that you can maximize your time with the companies that do interest you.

If there is a company in which you have a particular interest, take another look at your resume. Are there skills or experience that you might want to highlight or discuss in more detail which the company would find interesting? Think about ways that you resume might be customized to align with the company’s mission. Have these versions of your resume in a separate file and take a minute before you visit their booth to locate the personalized resume so you aren’t fumbling for it when are with the recruiter.

  1. Have a couple of questions ready for the recruiter.

Don’t ask the questions that are easily available to you online like when the company was founded, where the corporate office is or the name of the CEO. Instead ask about a project or initiative that the company is working on or ask the recruiting manager about the company climate and their favorite thing about working there. Being engaged with what is going on with the company is a great way to stand out.

  1. Dress to impress.

Did you know that dressing up improves your confidence according to a Forbes article written by clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner? Take the ten extra minutes to iron your pants, find a great tie or pair of shoes; it’s a sure-fire way to impress the recruiter.

  1. Remember the key successes to a great interview.

Because a job fair is like a job interview on a speed date, the recruiter is probably going to meet more people than they can remember, so don’t forget your interview essentials so you can stay on the recruiter’s radar. A firm handshake, a friendly smile and being aware of your body language are a few helpful tips, but certainly not all of the things of which you should be mindful. For a list that details other tips, check out the Undercover Recruiter’s article Eight Essential Interview Tips by a Recruiter.

  1. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself.

Why do you want to work for our company? What is one of your major accomplishments? Tell me about a time where you had to work in a team setting? These generic questions could go on forever, and you should know the answers, but take the extra time to think a little bit more. Instead of just answering what you consider your biggest accomplishment, think about your second and third. Having more than one may shed some insight on your work ethic and your goals.

  1. Be enthusiastic.

Nothing is worse than a job candidate that is distracted and doesn’t seem as if they are excited to be speaking with the recruiter. Smile, and show the recruiter that the position really interests you and why you would be a great fit for the company. As long as you’ve done your research about the company this should be an easy answer.

  1. Remember that this is a networking opportunity.

When you meet with the different recruiters make sure to grab their business card. Ask for it if there are not cards available on the table – this shows interest. The card not only allows you to be able to reference your meeting in a cover letter, it also gives you the contact information you need to connect on LinkedIn, should you choose. (To read more about creating a LinkedIn page or making a current page more robust, check out our post How to Use LinkedIn. Additionally, if you don’t get a job with the company, you may still be able to use your connection to see if they know of anyone else hiring in the industry.

  1. Come with an elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch? It’s a brief thirty-second pitch about you and your skill sets. The name says it all – if you got on an elevator and someone asked you to tell them about yourself before they got off on their floor, what would you say? This statement should be unique to you because you are trying to sell yourself to a recruiter. If you want to learn more about the elevator pitch and need help trying to craft one, click here.

  1. Get your bearings.

Get to a job fair about 10 minutes early. When you get there, stop and take a couple minutes on a bench outside or in the restroom to compose yourself. Check the job fair map, if they provide one, to see where the companies you want visit are located, make sure you have everything that you need and practice your elevator speech one more time.

Job fairs and hiring events are a fantastic opportunity to make an impression on several businesses in a short amount of time and perhaps see the recruiters of companies that may be hard to get to with just a cold call, but they can be a waste of your time as well as the employers if you don’t prepare for it as thoroughly as you would a job interview. Remember – that just what it is – several job interviews in a short amount of time. Make the most of it!

Masako

Masako

Masako entered the extended program housing at Transitions Homeless Center in March of 2016. As a shelter actively engaged in moving individuals into stable and permanent housing, Transitions partners with many community organizations to provide the expertise and services that their clients need in order to enter and sustain an independent lifestyle.masako

As one of those partners, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce works with Transitions to offer the Back to Work program; an intensive six-week employment boot camp. By providing the necessary guidance and soft skills to maintain gainful employment and self-sufficiency, the program helps individuals establish life-long independence. The combination of transitioning participants to housing as well as employment creates a comprehensive approach for long-term success.

While Masako’s journey from homelessness has certainly been a long arduous road, her journey from Transitions to employment has not. Since entering Transitions in March, she has completed the Back to Work Program, attended the Career Education & Employment Training Program offered by the Midlands Community Development Corporation, and landed a job.

Hard work and determination paid off for Masako.  She was hired as a housekeeper with Wingate Hotel Industries in Columbia in July.

Since her arrival at Transitions, everyone was taken with her kindness and friendliness, but the day she was hired was new inspiration. Masako was so grateful and excited to be employed and to have a business invest in her success that everyone was touched by her show of appreciation.

Getting a job has been a life changing event for Masako. She is enjoying working for the hotel and is now setting her sights on her next goal – finding her own place to live.

With assistance from her case managers and community partners, Masako knows that she can turn employment into independence.

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.