The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce is starting to market jobs in the area specifically to veterans.
“Ultimately, we’re not necessarily launching a new program, but we want to convene and concentrate the efforts of existing programs,” chamber CEO Allen Smith said.
The idea came as a response to concerns area businesses have with workforce development – concerns of employers over prospective employees passing drug tests, their ability to work as part of a team, their trustworthiness, follow-up, follow-through and ability to report to work on time. The chamber is also taking a leadership role for all career and workforce readiness initiatives under the Spartanburg Academic Movement, or SAM.
The chamber’s thinking, too, has been guided by the large number of baby boomers expected to retire – about 23 percent of workers over the next 10 years at businesses Spartanburg Community College surveyed in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties.
And so, the business organization will be seeking private sector support to mount a marketing effort in order to attract veterans from all over the country to jobs here. “We’re looking at avenues in which we can put our employers in front of prospective veteran employees,” Smith said. “We’re not quite there yet.”
One of the ideas being considered is advertising Spartanburg in The Military Times, a publication for servicemen and servicewomen.
Chamber officials are also making contact with individuals at Fort Jackson, which could potentially see jobs cut – up to 3,000 jobs cut under a “worst-case scenario,” according to The State newspaper.
Another possibility would be to launch a website to steer veterans to SC Works, Smith said.
The chamber has a task force dedicated to the matter. It met for the first time recently.
One of the members of that task force, Charles Rochelle, is with Operation Palmetto Employment, an initiative launched by Gov. Nikki Haley’s office and supported by the S.C. National Guard and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
That initiative is designed to attract veterans to jobs in South Carolina.
What the Spartanburg chamber wants to do would be similar, but concentrated on a local level.
“This is the first time where I have seen such an effort by a local group of people, the Chamber of Commerce, try to figure out a plan and start working toward attracting veterans to their area,” Rochelle said. “This is the first one for me, and I’m looking forward to it.”
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