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Greenville County job training program expands for low-wage workers

Staff Report
Published Jan. 24, 2013

A local job training and placement program is expanding to help low-wage and unemployed workers prepare for betters job in 2013.

The Greenville Region Workforce Collaborative announced Wednesday that two new private foundation grants will fund the expansion of its CareerSkillsNow program, enabling approximately 100 unemployed and underemployed workers to receive training in Greenville County this year in the growing field of advanced manufacturing.

The North Carolina-based Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to CareerSkillsNow, while the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to expand the program’s presence in the West Greenville community.

CareerSkillsNow information sessions

The grant funding will provide career coaching to accompany training in advanced manufacturing skills so that students in the program have the support and guidance necessary to complete training, become employed and retain employment, according to a news release.

Greenville City Councilwoman Lillian Brock Flemming said bringing the program to West Greenville, where the unemployment rate is as high as 48%, is a win for the community.

“This is an exciting partnership that will have a significant impact on the future of our community and its residents,” Flemming said in a news release.

The CareerSkillsNow program, which was developed by a regional collaborative of public, private and nonprofit partners, provides career coaching services to low to moderate income candidates who seek employment in the manufacturing sector.

In a little more than a year since the program’s inception, CareerSkillsNow has trained more than 120 people, with more than 70% of the participants finding employment or continuing their education after completing the course.

John Baker, executive director of the Greenville Region Workforce Collaborative, said 14 advanced manufacturing companies have joined the program, linking employers with the skilled workers they need.

“As we took the feedback and began to analyze the information, there was a resounding theme about an underlying issue: jobs,” said Brian Jones, market president for Bank of America, in a news release. “This is something that has widespread impact for families, businesses small and large on many levels, and the country as a whole.”

The program has numerous funding partners, including Hollingsworth Funds, Community Foundation of Greenville, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, AdvanceSC, ReadySC, Greenville Workforce Development and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

In addition to United Way of Greenville County, the nonprofit partners include Goodwill Industries, Greenville County Schools Lifelong Learning, Greenville Technical College, SC Works, SHARE, United Ministries and Urban League of the Upstate.

“Collaboration at all levels is the key driver of the program,” said Ted Hendry, president of United Way of Greenville County, in a news release. “We are grateful to our newest funding partners for showing their commitment to our community. Because of their support, we will help more families become financially stable and strengthen Greenville County as a whole.”