Richland County received certification this week through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities initiative, which will assist the County in its efforts to attract and retain international business development.
To become a Work Ready community, Richland County had to meet certain goals to demonstrate its commitment to economic growth and development of a quality workforce.
“The SC Work Ready Communities program is a partnership between local businesses, workforce and economic development partners and it provides critical real-time workforce skill data that our economic development team can use to demonstrate that the County has the workforce assets necessary to support company locations and/or expansions,” said Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush. “In addition, this program also allows our partners to identify and address specific opportunities for workforce improvement and engagement within the County; thus, creating a more competitive workforce for Richland.”
Richland County and Jasper County are the final two counties in the state to receive the certification, a fact that was heralded by Gov. Nikki Haley.
“We couldn’t be more excited to announce that South Carolina is the first state in the nation to have every county become certified work ready,” Haley said. “We have seen our state become one of the most competitive environments for business development in the world, and we’re just getting started.”
The South Carolina Work Ready Community initiative provides a framework to strengthen economic development using a community-based approach, grounded in certifying counties as work ready.
To become a South Carolina Work Ready Community, counties had to reach or exceed goals in earning National Career Readiness Certificates (achieved through WorkKeys testing), had to meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage and had to engage business support.
“With our commitment to the Work Ready initiative and the continued development of a skilled workforce development, it is not surprising that employment numbers have been at historic highs over the last year, and companies continue to expand and choose South Carolina as the place to do business,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.