Going the extra smile

ats1Ashton Taylor Sullivan had limited employability skills and was only able to find work waitressing part-time, barely making ends meet. She enrolled as a participant with the ResCare Workforce Services WIOA Out of School Youth Program once she graduated high school.

Through the help of her talent engagement specialist and talent development facilitator with the program, Ashton decided that she wanted to become a Dental Assistant and eventually work in an orthodontics office.

To improve her employability skills, Ashton attended work-readiness sessions to better prepare herself for the workforce. To gain the critical skills she needed, she enrolled and began classes at the Palmetto School of Career Development, a school that provides entry-level career courses to become certified in specific career paths. Through her training, she became certified in chairside dental assisting, OSHA and radiation safety.

Only a month after she became certified, she began working with Victory Dental Center and began developing the entry-level experience that she needed to advance her career. However,she wanted to be closer to home. Having the education and work skills she needed, Ashton was able to find employment that suited her situation when she got a job with Kids First Dental. This position is not only closer to her home, it allows her to work full-time while completing her degree at York Technical College.

Use data to help with your employment decisions

Labor Market Information (LMI) is crucially important for employers to make informed decisions about their businesses in regards to employment. Many employers have discovered the value in assessing the data in their region when it comes to hiring talent.

On the state’s Labor Market Information site you will find a wide range of information about demographics, industry, occupation, wages, education profiles and education/training data.

Business consultants at the SC Works Centers statewide can assist with the gathering of specific data from LMI and provide that information to your business. Often time’s businesses seek out this information to evaluate the education and training of the current workforce, as well as a basic industry standard of wages and demographics of a specific area.

The data provided from LMI can be used to target a specific area and is useful for businesses as well as job seekers to know the training and education requirements in that region. Beyond being used by employers and job seekers, community decision makers use this data when researching the workforce potential in their area, and make data based decisions on their economic development.

Endless benefits can be found using LMI data for your business, your local Workforce Center can help you navigate this data as well as help you identify which data sets are most useful in your line of work.

To find out more about LMI services, please visit scworks.org to find the workforce center near you.

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.”

 

New unemployment tax system coming soon

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) is upgrading and modernizing our tax system portal.

This new online system, the State Unemployment Insurance Tax System (SUITS), is designed to help you file unemployment insurance wage reports and pay unemployment insurance taxes. It is anticipated that SUITS will be implemented in the fall of 2017. The customized system will offer immediate account accessibility and streamlined business processing with the capability to:

  • Submit online registrations and changes to obtain liability determinations.
  • Utilize online tools to file wage reports and submit tax payments.
  • Access account history.
  • Change and update account information.
  • Communicate with a DEW representative.

To download the file format specification documents for filing your wage reports and taxes, click here. You can access a copy of the most current written authorization form to appoint an individual, firm or organization as your representative here.

 

Are your unemployment benefits at risk?

Did you know that when you file for unemployment benefits you must be actively searching for suitable work?

And you may need to verify your searches if the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce audits your claims. The agency can do so at any point and will request documentation of your weekly search for work. If your searches cannot be verified, you could be disqualified from future benefits and required to repay benefits you have already received.

One way to ensure your searches are verifiable is to perform all your job searches through the SC Works Online Services (SCWOS) website at jobs.scworks.org. By registering with SCWOS, your searches can be easily verified and counted toward your weekly work searches. Once you have completed your searches keep track of them for your records with the work search form available here.

Don’t jeopardize your benefits, go to jobs.scworks.org today!

It’s all about the skills that you have

hmHaden loves working with computers and has a natural IT ability. In fact, one of his favorite past times is to take them apart and put them back together, learning the intricacies of the machine, how it works and how to fix it.

Haden came to the WIOA Youth program in September 2016, with a high school diploma and having maxed out his Test of Adult Basic Education test with Adult Education which measures a student’s skills and aptitudes in reading, math and English. While he is extremely intelligent, Haden is also autistic and struggles with basic social interactions. He was looking for work because he assumed employment was the next step after education. And he is correct.

Because of his affinity for and expertise in IT, Haden was interested in finding work in that industry. In November 2016, the WIOA Youth program connected him with Net Solutions Technology Center, an IT company that services computers for industries such as doctor’s offices, law offices and manufacturing businesses, including installation, monitoring, support and upgrades. They also offer computer training and repair. Net Solutions interviewed Haden for a help desk attendant. Although nervous and apprehensive about the interview, Haden did well and was hired.

Helping him bridge the gap between his computer knowledge and the job requirement of social interaction, the staff at Net Solutions not only worked with him on basic computer troubleshooting, repairs and programming, they have helped guide him through questions and answers for some of the most common interactions with customers.

Haden has shown great potential and has developed additional social skills that help him work with the staff and flourish in the work environment. He has also been given additional tasks related to beta testing, an area where staff believe he may do well.

By looking at his knowledge base, potential for growth and skillset, Net Solutions was able to fill a position with a quality employee that, under their instruction, continues to improve, progress and add value to the business.

Top five myths about hiring veterans DEBUNKED!

Frequently businesses are hesitant to hire veterans because of misconceptions about the individual’s character, leadership style and a perceived “baggage” that comes with an employee who is a veteran or service member. Below are five common myths and their facts.

Myth 1: Veterans that have a disability require special accommodations

Fact: Many people assume that a disability is visible like a prosthetic leg or blindness, but in reality there are so many disabilities that are unseen like hearing loss, PTSD, depression and even diabetes. A March 2003 Work Trends report found that the vast majority, 73 percent, of employers reported that their workers with disabilities did not require accommodations. Even if special accommodations were to be made, many fear that they will be expensive adjustments, but actually statistics show that 15 percent of accommodations cost nothing and 50 percent cost less than $500. Another way to think about accommodations is that employers give special accommodations to all employees. This may be a flexible work schedule, not making a person with a bad back lift a heavy box or even adjusting the display settings on a monitor to help a person with bad eyesight.

Myth 2: All veterans have PTSD and are unemployable

Fact: In all actuality, many Americans have this disability with no prior military experience. While some estimates show that 11 to 20 percent of service members potentially have PTSD after being deployed, you are looking at a sample of the entire population which estimates that about 8 percent of Americans have had PTSD at some point of their life. Many people don’t disclose having this disability because there is a negative stigma regarding psychological health care. However, the reality of PTSD is the challenge of managing an intense condition caused by traumatic events which change how the brain functions, and in turn how you react to the world. Many people assume that individuals with PTSD are unemployable. Because of this, people who suffer from it refuse to seek care, when in fact seeking care can actually strengthen and protect their career by minimizing the impact of the symptoms on their performance.

Myth 3: Training and deployments interrupt daily workflow

Fact: Often, training doesn’t require any leave of absence from the workplace. They are typically once a month during a weekend and depending on the branch there may be time during the summer. If an active service member is going to be deployed they will have ample notice to allow the workplace to find a replacement for the duration of the deployment if needed.

Myth 4: Military skills don’t translate into the civilian workforce

Fact: It is well known that veterans and service members bring a plethora of skills to the table, but many times employers believe that those skills don’t translate into a civilian job. In addition, people frequently think that if you are in the military you serve in combat, however, many military roles include finance, digital broadcasting and mechanical engineering to name a few. The 300,000 veterans that transition out of military service each year bring these workplace skills with them that could benefit a job within that industry.

Myth 5: Military leadership doesn’t create effective leadership in the civilian workforce

Fact: The assumption is that all military leadership is autocratic meaning a single individual makes all decisions with little input from group members. Contradicting this is the reality that military leadership is characteristic of any demonstrated leadership with qualities including ambition, drive and tenacity, self-confidence, psychological openness, and realism and appetite for learning, but with the addition of respecting rank and obeying orders.

Getting a second chance

jmWhen Jason Mongillo was first released from jail, he didn’t know where to begin. He got assistance from the SC Works center in Florence and learned about the Federal Bonding program. This program offers employers the confidence to give second chances to ex-offenders by providing a bond as an insurance policy. In turn it helps eliminate a significant barrier to employment for individuals who may possess very employable job skills. Jason was so excited about this opportunity that he immediately began his own work search; however, without completing the program, he didn’t have all of the pieces he needed to successfully search for work on his own.

After several attempts, Jason came back to the center for employment assistance and ready to complete the Federal Bonding program to the end.

With the help of his workforce consultant, he was provided all of the necessary tools and preparation for employment. This included having his resume reviewed and talking through his letter of explanation that offered potential employers a brief look into his past and his efforts to change his future. This letter is meant to give employers a sense of ease and confidence in their hiring decisions. Prior to going to any interviews he was also equipped with several Federal Bonding vouchers as a hiring incentive for suitable employers.

When he began the work search process he made his vouchers available and through his perseverance and willingness to be upfront about his past, he was hired almost immediately at CiCi’s Pizza as a manager in training.

Through the Federal Bonding Program Jason was given the confidence he needed to obtain employment and the ability to get back on his own two feet after going through some adversity.

A new career change

IMG_20160811_144435Constance Sharp had been out of a job for some time and she felt that her age was deterring her success.

Constance found out about the AARP 50+ program that is offered at many SC Works centers. BACK TO WORK 50+ connects struggling Americans 50+ with the information, support, training and employer access they need to regain employment, advance in the workforce, and build financial capability and resiliency to prevent them from slipping into poverty later in life.

She wanted a new skill set so that she could make a career change from her previous work experience.

After applying for one of AARP’s scholarships, Constance received financial assistance to attend Tri-County Technical College to further her education. The program offered many wonderful opportunities, but she chose to pursue the Patient Access Specialist program which would create multiple entry level opportunities available in a hospital patient-access department, assisting with registrations, insurance verification, scheduling, financial counseling and more. With the help of her Career Coach at the SC Works center and the AARP program she started preparing for interviews and was taught new skills that she would need for this career change, like bolstering her computer skills.

Through her classes, counseling, job fairs and goal planning, Constance started becoming more prepared and more confident in her ability to start a new career.

After the completion of her classes, she attended a job fair at the Anderson Mall and was offered a job with Anderson Disability and Special Needs. Not only has she continued her education at Tri-County Technical College to keep her skills current, she also took her State Certification in late October, and she has set a course for a whole new career, despite the “challenge” of her age