COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and South Carolina Chamber of Commerce hosted hundreds of business representatives from across the state Tuesday to discuss workforce development challenges.

According to officials, there are more than 80,000 open jobs in South Carolina right now.

“Just imagine if we could fill those 80,000 jobs, that would create billions more in economic activity,” SC Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Morgan said.

DEW said businesses frequently identify three crucial challenges when it comes to workforce development: recruitment, training and retention of skilled workers.

Tuesday’s symposium was focused on addressing those issues and how the state and companies can work together.

“We are really moving ahead to satisfy the needs of the state, because we have a great opportunity with all the current employers as well as the employers to come,” DEW Executive Director William Floyd said.

Some of the barriers for would-be employees in South Carolina include transportation and child care challenges. Morgan said they are hopeful state and federal lawmakers will consider expanding tax credits for businesses who offer these services to their employees.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed legislation to streamline some of the state’s workforce initiatives. Floyd said some of those projects they’ve been tasked with doing are underway.