Achieving a Work-Ready South Carolina


By Guest Contributor Ed Parris | President. Phillips Staffing

Economic development announcements are up. We have one of the fastest-growing economies in the United States, and capital investment is flowing into the Palmetto State.

South Carolina unemployment is down. The seasonally adjusted rate hit 5.3 percent in April – the lowest level of joblessness in over 13 years. More South Carolinians are employed now than ever before

So… all is good, right? Not so fast.
Despite this good news – and it is very good news – one of our greatest challenges lurks. It is a challenge that threatens this momentum, and our future prosperity.

South Carolina lacks the availability and readiness of a workforce that can sustain this momentum and be competitive in tomorrow’s global marketplace.



National Trend, South Carolina Challenge


This is not just a South Carolina issue, but one that permeates the economies of every state across our nation. Skills gap surveys
document how a vast majority of American businesses are struggling to deal with a serious shortage of qualified employees. Driven by retirement trends, advances in technology that necessitate new skills, increasing competition globally, and systematic shortcomings in training a sufficiently skilled workforce, South Carolina is at a crossroads.

We must demonstrate that we are capable of providing a pipeline of workers who have the requisite skills to do the jobs of tomorrow, or we risk losing the confidence – and investment – of companies who would consider relocating and expanding here.

At our staffing, professional placement and HR consulting firm, we place thousands of associates in jobs across the Southeast every day. Yet even a long-standing commitment to delivering superior talent, outstanding service and innovative productivity solutions to customers has been tested as the states where we operate struggle to offer the talent pipeline to sustain success.


South Carolina Work-Ready Communities


SCWorkReadyStateIn 2012, South Carolina was selected by ACT as one of four states to participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities Program. Using a community-based approach to strengthen economic development efforts by certifying communities as work ready, the program sends a clear message to businesses that if they invest in South Carolina, we will deliver the workforce they need.
The state certifies counties as South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) based on four key criteria: meeting established high school graduation rates, soft skills development, business commitment, and National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) holders, which builds upon WorkKeys, the gold standard in job skills assessment.
The NCRC is a portable and industry-recognized credential earned from taking WorkKeys assessments to identify competencies including reading for information, applied mathematics, and locating information – essential capabilities in today’s business arenas.

By May 2013, every South Carolina county had signed up to participate in SCWRC – the first state in the nation to accomplish 100 percent participation. Counties have two years from sign-up to achieve the Certified Work Ready designation.


Business Support Makes The Difference


The SCWRC initiative is helping job seekers understand what talents employers are looking for, helping educators prepare students for success, and helping employers find better matches between candidates and their needs.

As one of the companies that has embraced SCWRC in every community where we do business, Phillips Staffing has been able to document that we consistently deliver a better-skilled, better-suited employee to meet our customers’ needs by fully embracing this initiative.

Phillips has also hired and trained three certified job profilers to profile jobs of employers who sign up as Businesses Supporting South Carolina’s CWRC efforts, and we have completed dozens of profiles for South Carolina businesses. The profiles help organizations find an ideal candidate match for each profiled position, and are generating bottom-line benefits to participating businesses.

Importantly, these profiling services are currently available at no cost to businesses through Gov. Haley’s Work Ready Communities initiative on a first-come, first-served basis, with the number of available profiles determined by the number of employees working at the profile site and the types of jobs to be profiled.

If having a steady pipeline of skilled, talented and committed workers to meet your business’s needs now and in the future interests you – and surely it does – please visit today.

Your involvement can improve your business today, and can make South Carolina even more competitive in the global economy tomorrow. Join us.


EdParrisEd Parris is president of Phillips Staffing. Founded in 1968, Phillips Staffing provides staffing and productivity solutions, professional placement, payroll management and HR consulting solutions and services to organizations across the Southeast. For information, email Ed at [email protected], call 864-242-4144, or visit


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