South Carolina is continuing its efforts to make sure the “skills gap” doesn’t impact economic development.
The latest example is Sector Strategies, a regional initiative by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to develop a pipeline that will ensure a steady flow of skilled workers. Sector Strategies relies on collaboration between business, education and government to align what’s being learned in school with what skills are needed by local employers.
Several states are engaged in Sector Strategies initiatives. In South Carolina, regional teams are in the process of assessing existing programs and will be communicating with industry to determine current workforce needs.
The state has been divided into four regions (Central, Pee Dee, South Coast and Upstate) and five critical industries have been identified (diversified manufacturing, business information technology services, health care, transportation/logistics/wholesale and construction).
Sector Strategies is designed to ensure a constant flow of potential workers who already have the skills needed by businesses who are already here. Taking into account the lifetime learning needs of the workforce, Sector Strategies “allows students and workers to move seamlessly between academic and career technical programs,” according to DEW.
A report by the National Governors Association said that when it comes to Sector Strategies, “no other strategy appears to compare in terms of:
- Using public resources efficiently, effectively, and collectively
- Showing tangible results, such as improved business productivity and increased earnings for workers
- Acknowledging regional differences and strengths and actively encouraging local flexibility and action by local programs.”
Sector Strategies comes on the heels of a $100,000 grant South Carolina received from JPMorgan Chase to assess the state’s career preparation system.