Sector Strategies aims to fill the workforce pipeline

In the coming months, you will be hearing quite a bit about building a workforce pipeline through Sector Strategies.

But this is not “just another program,” says Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

Sector StrategiesWhat it is, however, is a regional, industry-focused approach to building a skilled workforce pipeline through regional collaboration between industry, education and government. Sector Strategies is proving to be one of the most effective ways to address the talent needs of employers.

This initiative is slated to be rolled out around mid-April, but the roll out is only the beginning, said Stanton, during the Workforce Development Symposium held recently in Columbia.

The goal is to build regional talent pipelines in critical industries to address workers’ skill shortages and to create career pathways for workers in specific industry sectors. All industry across the state will benefit from this effort.

This is happening through the analysis of data and on-the-ground intelligence to drive career pathways and talent pipeline development strategies. This allows for customized solutions by economic region rather than a cookie-cutter approach for all.

In order to have world-class Sector Strategies, there must be a shared vision in each region, it must be guided by industry that validates competency needs and partners in the programs’ designs, and it must lead to strategic alignment, which allows students and workers to move seamlessly between academic and career technical programs, to and from work, and to advanced credentials.

As part of this plan, the state has been divided into four regions. They are Upstate, including Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Edgefield, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg and Union counties; Central, including Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Lexington, Orangeburg and Richland counties; Pee Dee, including Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter and Williamsburg counties; and South Coast, including Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester Hampton and Jasper counties.

The plan has also identified five critical industries in the state. They are diversified manufacturing, which includes metal and metal fabrication, textiles, lumber and wood products and chemicals, rubber and plastics; business information technology services; health care; transportation, logistics and wholesale trade; and construction.

“The end result of the intentional and thoughtful process of Sector Strategies and data-driven planning is where all business in South Carolina benefit – and that is the end of the pipeline,” Stanton said. “By matching individuals’ strengths and life stage with the demands of South Carolina’s industries, businesses can continue to find the employees they need in order to grow and compete.”