In the Midlands, we expect to see 20,000 job openings over the next five years, with many that pay salaries ranging from $40,000 to $100,000. Yet there are not enough trained people to fill the lucrative and available positions.
According to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, 45 percent of the unfilled positions in the next five years will require middle skills, which are defined as education and training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. Right now, only 29 percent of available workers meet the middle-skilled hiring criteria.
Midlands Technical College’s QuickJobs Program works to fill this employment gap by helping the Palmetto State attract more people into the middle-skilled hiring arena.
QuickJobs helps workers retool their skills for the new economy, and it prepares people for careers where thousands of positions are now open — areas such as advanced manufacturing, alternate energy, information technology and health care.
Local industry supports this model, and corporations are stepping up to offset the costs for people to quickly gain the skills these careers demand. Bank of America is one such company; it has donated more than $200,000 in recent years for people with financial need to pursue these careers.
More than ever, business and government are partnering with Midlands Technical College to empower people to become trained and educated to take advantage of these employment opportunities. These efforts are succeeding. Eighty percent of the students who received QuickJobs funding have completed their training and are now employed or enrolled in higher levels of training.
The statistics speak for themselves, but the individual accomplishments of these graduates should not be overlooked. Many who benefited from the scholarship dollars and QuickJobs training were unemployed. Many were single parents. Many had personal and financial challenges, but the scholarship money provided by companies such as Bank of America helped them overcome these challenges and put them on the path to high-demand careers. This is truly an arrangement where everyone wins: Students receive a debt-free education, and local businesses acquire the hard-to-find talent by stepping up to help with tuition.
The Legislature and private and corporate donors have provided funding for scholarships for those in need and the equipment necessary to train them. These dollars are vital to paving a way for citizens of the Midlands to find their place in the quickly advancing South Carolina economy and workforce.
President, Midlands Technical College
S.C. Market President, Bank of America