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County moves forward with workforce study

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By Chris Sardelli

Can a new study help put county residents back to work?
County Council hopes a $20,000 workforce study it approved in September will help find new ways to decrease unemployment in the county. Greenville-based marketing research and workforce development agency 10-x presented an outline of the study to several members of County Council during an economic development committee meeting on Monday night.
Also at the meeting were Lancaster County Economic Development Corp. President Keith Tunnell, Ernie Green from York Technical College and Nichole Lawing from the Workforce Investment Board, which is part of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments.
County Administrator Steve Willis said each person at the meeting has a vested interest in helping improve the local workforce.
“They all will have a lot of input in training folks to get qualified for any jobs that come in,” Willis said.
Partnering with 10-x for the analysis is Dr. Charles Duke, a research and marketing professor with Clemson University who has 35 years of experience conducting research analyses.
During the study’s first phase, the agency will assess the needs of all the county’s major employers. As part of the phase, the agency will identify the processes, strengths and weaknesses of local industries, as well as any organizations that help workers find jobs.
Willis said the study will also look at where local workers stand in terms of skills and experience and what they need to gain employment. 10-x also plans on looking at job seekers who have found jobs and those who are still searching.
Part of the study will also look at local colleges and universities, such as the University of South Carolina at Lancaster and York Technical College, to see what training courses exist and which ones are needed.
During these various phases, the agency will conduct focus groups and one-on-one interviews.
The ultimate goal of the study is to understand each organization’s role and increase the workforce’s chances of finding jobs and keeping them.
Once the company begins its work this month, Willis said it will take them between 90 and 120 days to finish the study.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at (803) 416-8416