COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — For some of the roughly 105,000 open jobs in South Carolina, there are no applicants.
The House Economic Development and Utility Modernization Ad-Hoc Committee met Friday morning to discuss workforce development.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce says the biggest issue facing businesses in the state right now is the labor shortage. Director of Government Affairs Will Frierson said, “The biggest challenges they’re facing are no or few applicants for open jobs, lack of skilled workers, increased completion for talent and wage inflation.”
According to data from state officials, South Carolina has one of the lowest labor participation rates in the country. Currently, it’s a little less than 57%.
One thing businesses says lawmakers should look into to help boost that percentage is by closing the childcare gap. SEW-Eurodrive Purchasing Manager Wade Blackwell said, “I’ve realized very quickly especially in the last two years in this industry and the supply chain as a whole is a shortage of people.” They attribute some of that shortage to the lack
Officials with SEW Eurodrive, Middle Tyger Community Center and Spartanburg District 5 told the panel of lawmakers about a partnership they’ve developed to expand childcare options for working families in Spartanburg County. They said a model like this could work in other parts of the state.
Spartanburg District 5 Superintendent Dr. Randall Gary said the lack of childcare options is impacting teacher recruitment and retention. He said having these options available could help prepare future generations of South Carolinians for the workforce as well by starting them on the right path.
“We have seen the difference it makes with quality early childhood care,” Dr. Gary said.
Other recommendations lawmakers heard was incentivizing affordable housing for working families and young professionals near workplaces.