Beyond Politics: Workforce Development

Beyond election year politics, one of the most critical challenges facing South Carolina is that of the quality of our workforce.

The quality of our workforce affects a lot of aspects of life in South Carolina. While the more obvious impacts are felt in terms of economic development and employment statistics, there are impacts on a wide range of other issues. This has a real impact upon the lives of the people of our state.

Unfortunately, too many areas of our state rely on low-wage, low-skill industry and distribution centers, where the pay is so low that workers require public assistance to meet their basic needs for housing, food, and health care, and the companies expect hefty tax breaks to provide these jobs. The real solution is to have a quality workforce which can attract a higher quality of industry that wants and expects a top-notch workforce, and is willing to pay to get it.

In a recent op-ed in the Myrtle Beach Sun News, Darla Moore, the Chairman of the Palmetto Institute, raises some valid concerns about the problems we face here in South Carolina:

S.C. counties can no longer only compete against each other for jobs and win. Our competitors are global.

A diploma no longer is enough; workers must have real-world technical skills to meet employer demands.

That's a big challenge for our state that, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, has as many as 600,000 workers who do not have a high school diploma or the literacy and technical skills to hold a meaningful job for three years. That's one-third of our work force.

That's a real problem that will keep our state from getting the good-paying jobs needed to raise household incomes, move families off public assistance, and bring much-needed economic stability to our rural communities.

In serving on the regional Workforce Investment Board, and doing HR work for my company, as well as others I've worked with before, I see these problems every day. Addressing these issues requires a team effort from all of us.

The recent move of Workforce Investment efforts to the state's Commerce Department was a step in the right direction. This recent report from the Palmetto Institute points the way for continued improvement of our workforce development efforts.

We don't have much time to lose ...

7 Response to "Beyond Politics: Workforce Development"

  1. west_rhino 16/11/06 11:36
    Earl, the few existing assets offered by SC lie in the Real Estate Agents three top selling points for any property, location, location, location. This makes the distribution centers, including our ports, one facet that cannot be outsourced. Ditto the hands on services.

    Distribution centers however are becoming more automated, reducing the number of workers needed. Agriculture also in the asset category, no longer consistently requires a year round supply of hands and has long been undercut by (probably paid under the table) lower wage migrants, not far removed from slave labor. Tourism, also location dependent, has limitations as God isn't making more ocean front property or land with good mountian views. Tourism becomes faced with maximizing the ability to part a tourist from their money, hence 12+ story towers on Myrtle Beach's waterfront and significant wonderment that the same hasn't occured on a few of SC's lakes of "the Redneck Rivera".

    Curiously, recalling one of John Kerry's '74 quips that the proposed all volunteer Army concept would lead to an incompetent military that was mostly black, brown and illiterate. Enlistment does bear an out, but a facet for the 600K Darla Moore cites is that basic training wither doesn't provide day care or is too much work, like the GED would be.

    One might infer that the 600,000 largely is behaving as though they are waiting for the body to catch up with a spirit that has gone off to the happy hunting land. In advocatus diaboli perhaps a Norte Americano Union, like the EC, could offer an ability for some reverse illegal imigration, to allow them to go off to Mexico following "the giant sucking sound" heard only by Ross Perot's unique ears, to find a lower cost of living and, perhaps some of the low tech jobs they've equipped themselves for.
  2. Moye 16/11/06 16:05
    This is a serious problem and has been for years. The education of the public has sucked in SC forever and will continue to do so under the new leadership Mr. Rex. I have said it before we need vouchers and we need to run the schools like a business and the head person does not have to be a educator. Anyone who believe that is missing something. Anyone who believes our schools do not need a over haul is missing something and anyone who is not tired of wasting his tax money is missing something. A lot of the people of SC who are dependent on hand outs are the same ones voting the SO-'s back in certain races such as the sixth district and the fifth district and the local politians in Clarendon, Williamsburg, Orangeburg to name a few. Until we all quit relying on the U S Goverment to raise us and bury us it will only get worse for SC.
  3. west_rhino 16/11/06 17:13
    Yes moye, and if the Sup Ed recounts hold, we've four more years of "stuck on stupid". While too many campaign promises are essentially full employment schemes for education school graduates and the whole plan is "roket skience" that public school educations prepare us not to grasp...
  4. Brian McCarty 16/11/06 22:30
    The culture has to be changed. Until success in the classroom and in the workplace becomes accepted in certain areas of the state, instead of shunned, those areas will never improve.
  5. Anonymous 17/11/06 07:42
    what kinda culture are you talking about, racist mccarty? The kind in which the man keeps the black man from having anything?

    Only a fool plays the man's game by his rules. School is for a fool. Working hard is for slaves.
  6. Earl Capps 17/11/06 09:16
    ok anon, tell us how you'd do it?
  7. Morpehus 17/11/06 12:38
    Yes anon, tell us what a fool Astronauts Charles Bolden and Ron McNair have been, or perhaps Tuskegee Airmen veteran General Chappie James? Be Serena and Vanessa Williams, Tiger Woods or any NBA Playah slaves for honing the skills that seperate them from the skreet fools that think that modest skill alone will put Millions in their pockets?

    Go ahead fool, pandering to a "coppertop" and keeeping it properly fat sassy and in line sounds just too much like the Matrix...

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