Campaign aimed at bringing pride and professionals back to South Carolina’s skilled workforce
The Associated Industries of S.C. Foundation in partnership with Governor Henry McMaster, state agencies including the S.C. Technical College System, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and the S.C. Department of Commerce today announced the launch of a new initiative, “Be Pro Be Proud S.C.,” to bring a new generation of pride, progress and professionals to South Carolina’s skilled workforce.
Today’s skilled professional workforce is aging out and the next generation of new talent is not sufficient to fill the demand. Nationwide, there are an estimated 4.6 million job openings, with approximately 60,000 of these openings here in South Carolina. The majority of these are in skilled technical fields. This gap in our state’s employment can be directly attributed to a lack of knowledge, interest and preparation.
“We must have the workers to do these skilled jobs, and we believe the impediment is that they don’t realize what all is available,” said the Hon. Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina.
The initiative targets many key audiences including high school and nontraditional students, current skilled professionals, legislators, parents, teachers, career coaches and employers to dispel the myths about skilled trade professions, showcase current skilled professionals’ true vocational pride, highlight the many career opportunities available within these trades and provide necessary resources and training to those interested.
“Since 2006, SC has lost 26.8% of all residential construction jobs, which totals almost 17,000 jobs which were predominantly self-employed. ,” said James Garman, Home Builders Association of South Carolina President. “The need is great and growing. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce estimates an additional 24,000 new construction workers are needed to meet the state’s current building needs.”
Research conducted prior to the development of this campaign indicates that 82 percent of companies regularly have positions they are unable to fill with qualified workers. Furthermore, experienced tradesmen for these open positions average $50,000.
The Homebuilders Association of SC; SC Trucking Association; Carolina’s Associated General Contractors; Forestry Association of SC; SC Chamber of Commerce; SC Farm Bureau Federation, SC Petroleum Marketers Association; South Carolina Timber Producers Association; Palmetto Agribusiness Council; SC Motor Coach Association; Carolinas Ready-Mix Association; SC Propane Gas Association, SC Beverage Association, SC Retail Federation, SC Beer Wholesalers Association, SC Asphalt Pavement Association, have voiced their support for this initiative, including providing financial support of the campaign.
The “Be Pro Be Proud S.C.” initiative will use a mobile unit to travel the state and visit schools and events to showcase skilled trade professions and broaden awareness of their impact on our state’s workforce. The “Be South Carolina Pro” mobile unit is an engaging tool that will provide information about training resources, currently available positions and descriptions, skills needed, and how to start the process of starting a skilled professional career.
“I have been told that only one of three parents says they would encourage their children to pursue construction careers, despite the advanced skills and high pay characteristic of the existing opportunities in the construction industry,” said James Garman. “The Be Pro Be Proud SC will offer South Carolinians new insight into the skilled professional workforce requires a team approach that includes employers, schools, elected officials, students and parents who recognize skilled professions for the financial and rewarding career opportunities they are. The HBA of SC will also work to provide apprenticeships in the construction field to help attract and cultivate future talent.”
The initiative will include a website, which will serve as a content hub for young professionals to learn more and even find training and job opportunities. Employers can also use the site to actively engage students, current skilled trade professionals can become ambassadors and work with students to spur interest, and parents and educators can arm themselves with the necessary materials for encouraging students to learn about potential career opportunities. Social media channels designed to help keep top-of-mind awareness about the need for skilled professionals will also support the initiative and provide relevant updates during the campaign.