Spartanburg Community College (SCC), in partnership with The Duke Energy Foundation, today released critical data from a market research study, which analyzed the needs, skills, gaps and impact of the evolving workforce in the manufacturing industry, and the future outlook of this important business sector for employers, employees and the vitality of the Upstate economy.
"For the past 50 years, Spartanburg Community College has partnered with business and industry throughout our three-county service area of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties to advance and sustain the Upstate economy by educating, training and re-training residents to work as highly skilled employees in local businesses," says Henry C. Giles, Jr., SCC president. "Data from our marketing research - The Upstate Job Scene: Where Perception Does Not Equal Reality - indicates we are at a critical crossroads as baby boomers retire, leaving highly skilled positions vacant, while job seekers in our area are not pursuing the education and training required to fill these positions."
"Partnerships between public and private businesses, local and state governmental bodies, and elected officials, as well as community and technical colleges, need to align priorities, funding and missions if we are to attract, train and educate highly skilled employees to solve this growing problem."
This research comes on the cusp of historic changes in our economy and heralds a new era in advanced manufacturing. Rick Quinn, from Richard Quinn and Associates, says, "Forty-two percent of the current workforce in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties is over 50 years old. This leads to the questions of what to do when that workforce retires, what kind of workforce will the Upstate be left with and will we be able to fill the hole left by retirees?"
As noted in the study, the aging of the skilled workforce in the region has not gone unnoticed by industry leaders. "These findings are similar to what we are seeing in Duke Energy's workforce," said Clark Gillespy, state president of Duke Energy in South Carolina. "From our nuclear stations to our linemen in the field, developing and maintaining a highly-skilled workforce in the Upstate is critical to our success. That is why it is important to partner with Spartanburg Community College and other institutions to find solutions that will positively impact the Upstate workforce for decades to come."
SCC made this announcement at press conferences held throughout the three-county service area at the College's central campus in Spartanburg, the Cherokee County Campus in Gaffney and the Union County Advanced Technology Center. More information is available on the SCC website at www.sccsc.edu/job-scene-report.