Gov. Haley pushes for opportunity fairs to strengthen workforce - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Gov. Haley pushes for opportunity fairs to strengthen workforce

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Governor Nikki Haley said plenty of small businesses have openings, but they can't find people qualified enough to fill them.

"We're looking at what the open jobs are," Governor Haley said. "This is talking as much about the businesses that have openings as it is talking to the people that need jobs."

Governor Haley spoke at Abundant Life Church in Florence Thursday to an audience of business and community leaders. She talked about SucceedSC, an initiative to qualify the workforce and start filling the 66,000 open positions in the state, she said.

"The goal is to get them trained," she said. "This is about lifting up that single mom of two children that wants a better life."

Her proposed solution is for communities to host opportunity fairs that will give job seekers a place to find out what certifications or skills they may need for a certain career.

"What we're going to do is make sure they have the answers on adult ed. We're going to connect them with businesses that want them. We're going to give them the soft skills they need," Governor Haley said. "We're really going to make sure we make that connection on the people that we need to lift up a little bit more to have a better life."

Marion County hosted a similar fair back in November, which is proving to be an example for the opportunity fairs that will soon be popping up around the state.

"It was more about exposing people to what the requirements of that job might be so that they can prepare themselves for when those positions became open," said Joette Dukes, workforce development director for the Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments.

Dukes said the five sectors in the Pee Dee that need more trained workers are healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, customer service and information technology.

"As a small business owner, we struggle to find qualified people every day in this state," said Robby Hill, who owns HillSouth iT Solutions. "And we have so many great programs that the government has to offer to help people get qualified for jobs."

The goal of the opportunity fairs will be to connect people with those government programs and get them moving in the direction of a career.

"We've seen a lot of energy and a lot of motivation on wanting to go forward, so as soon as they're ready, we're going to go ahead and start having these fairs," Governor Haley said.

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