Focusing on Innovative Solutions: How One State Official Has Worked to Combat Recent Workforce Shortages

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5/4/2024

By Olivia Mitrovich, AEM Regional State Government Affairs Manager —

Like many other states, South Carolina has been grappling with workforce shortages. The pandemic exacerbated these challenges, leaving businesses struggling to find qualified workers. As many manufacturers relocate or expand their operations to South Carolina, the manufacturing industry has felt the impact of these shortages.

To remediate these shortages, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette has put workforce solutions at the forefront of her priorities. Notably, Lieutenant Governor Evette has worked with high school systems across the state to create workforce training programs that will supplement the existing classroom curriculum. Through the creation of its Bond Career Center, Greenville County is one of the first counties in South Carolina to fully adopt this model. The Bond Career Center aims to educate high school students through a hybrid model of both classroom and on-the-job training with local employers.

This year, Calder Brothers partnered with the Bond Career Center to create a pipeline of career-ready employees. Through this program, Calder Brothers mentored and trained six female welding student employees who have all since competed in national welding competitions. These students are set to graduate in May and will immediately transition into careers in welding. It is the hope that this partnership will alleviate local workforce shortages as future students continue to capitalize on this program.

In late April, Lieutenant Governor Evette visited the Calder Brothers headquarters to see the six welding students in action on the factory floor and to highlight Calder Brothers success with this program. During her address to the Calder Brothers staff, Lieutenant Governor Evette stated, "I have made it my mission for the past six years to expand workforce development efforts at the high school level across the state. My own son is a product of one of these programs, so I have seen firsthand the benefits of attracting young talent to join our workforce."

As workforce shortages persist throughout the country, we must rely on innovative solutions that will attract young talent like the one created in South Carolina by Lieutenant Governor Evette.

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