To get South Carolina back to work, state workforce officials and the technical college system are partnering to offer free workforce training for job seekers.
People claiming unemployment benefits will have the option of taking short-term retraining programs from area technical colleges for free. The state Department of Employment and Workforce is teaming up with the state Technical College System to offer these trainings as an alternative to the weekly work search for unemployment beneficiaries.
About 118,400 South Carolinians are receiving unemployment benefits as of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gov. Henry McMaster gave a one-time payment of $8 million to the Technical College System to cover the costs of trainings, course materials and any assessments.
This offer includes 11 programs, all 16 weeks long or shorter and offering an industry-recognized credential or certificate, Technical College System President Tim Hardee said in a news release.
“The key to building South Carolina’s critical workforce lies in quick training and education programs geared towards high-demand fields,” he said. “Our colleges are uniquely positioned to quickly get people negatively impacted by the pandemic back on their feet — training them in these high-demand fields and building more stability for their lives.”
The programs on offer include patient care technician, emergency medical technician, CompTIA, commercial driver’s license, ManuFirstSC, manufacturing skill standards council certification, OSHA certification, LEAN Six Sigma, welding, heavy equipment operator and lineman technician. Piedmont Technical College offers some of these trainings, according to the school’s website. To see the jobs on offer and the services available to job-seekers through Upper Savannah S.C. Works, visit bit.ly/3v4KhCm.
“As the federal unemployment programs come to an end on June 26, 2021, we want to ensure that claimants have access to all options involving training and employment opportunities,” said DEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey. “If someone is ready to make a career change, exploring the state technical college programs should be your first step. This free training could lead to a certification or credential, which provides you access into new or higher paying jobs.”
As of May 31, DEW has paid out about $6.2 billion in unemployment benefits, with about 80% of those funds coming from federal programs. McMaster opted out of continuing to offer these programs effective June 26, and state officials are hoping this training program will give job-seekers an opportunity to reenter the workforce after their weekly benefits are cut.