Extraordinarily tight labor conditions exist in South Carolina and across the nation. To provide co-op served industrial/commercial members, the economic development community and other workforce-focused stakeholders with information for meeting the challenge, the SC Power Team maintains Project Pioneer.

An ongoing, statewide labor study, Project Pioneer combines traditional workforce data sources with comprehensive primary research. Initial implementation included more than 200 employer interviews and the polling of 12,000 South Carolina workers. Data gathering for Project Pioneer is continuous.

In addition to generating data for long-term decision making, Project Pioneer is revealing immediate opportunities for co-op served industrial/commercial members to attract/retain skilled workers. Executives, operations managers, human resource directors and trainers can apply any of the following ideas – in the short-term – to their own unique workforce challenges:

1. Promote a Clean, Safe Work Environment

Today’s manufacturing facilities are often clean, safe and interesting places to work. But Project Pioneer tells us that the myth of the dirty, dangerous, repetitive manufacturing operation is still alive. Do not let this misconception be perceived when it comes to your facility. Here are some concrete actions to take:

  1. Make sure your community knows you as a clean, safe place to work.
  2. Engage your local partners in planning for facility improvements. Your serving electric cooperative can be a great resource as you design a new factory lighting plan. SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership consultants are active in all South Carolina counties and can help you in re-orienting plant layouts.
  3. Attend gatherings of local industry sponsored by your county economic development organization to learn about the improvements peers are making in their facilities.

2. Fill your pipeline in the short term – Engage your Local SC Technical College System Partner

South Carolina boasts sixteen technical colleges. Many South Carolina companies are engaged with their local technical college. Many still are not. If your facility is already engaged with your local technical college, outstanding!  If you are not engaged, and you wish to start, please contact our business retention/expansion manager Andrew Folks (afolks@scpowerteam.com). He will consult with the local and state support network and help you make the right connection.

3. Fill your pipeline in the long term – Tell Your Story to High Schools (and Middle Schools)

To really get ahead in the talent recruitment game, you need to start early. Employers who reported engagement with their local K-12 systems in their Project Pioneer interviews also shared that those efforts were yielding results. Telling your story – what you manufacture and the opportunities in your facility – to K-12 students helps them, their instructors and their families see opportunity with your company. The South Carolina Department of Education maintains a robust school directory online. Connect by clicking here and finding the schools in your location – the first step towards a stronger connection to the youth in your community.

4. Visit Your County’s Community Analysis at the SC Data Center

Flexible use is a key pillar of Project Pioneer. The SC Data Center is an online fusion of Project Pioneer findings and demographic, real estate and business data. It contains a community analysis of each South Carolina county. Visit today to get a data driven picture of labor in your area.

  1. Click here to find a community analysis link for each of South Carolina’s 46 Counties.
  2. Click here for a short video to help you get started once you reach your county’s analysis page.

The South Carolina Power Team maintains a comprehensive business retention and expansion program centered on creating partnerships that enhance the success of companies on our power system. We are committed to making expansion and investment at your facility more achievable, and facilitating connections to resources that can help your business thrive. To connect to more information, click here or telephone Andrew Folks, business retention/expansion manager, at 803-978-7650.

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