All four of the I-77 Alliance members—Chester, York, Richland, and Fairfield counties—have received Work Ready Community certification. South Carolina is home to 36 counties that have received this certification, making it the national leader for number of Work Ready Communities.
In 2011, the Work Ready Communities initiative was launched in order to make the nation’s workforce more competitive by equipping individuals with valuable, highly demanded skills. The following year, South Carolina joined the program.
The S.C. Work Ready Communities initiative helps evaluate the quality and capability of workforces in counties across South Carolina. Counties are assessed based on high school graduation, soft skills development, business support, and number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) holders. The NCRC certifies individuals in skills ranging from problem solving and critical thinking to locating, synthesizing, and applying graphical information, and ultimately it helps demonstrate the skills of a county’s workforce.
This program has contributed to South Carolina’s successful business growth and attractive business climate. The certification of counties shows the high quality labor force that is available for companies that establish themselves in South Carolina.
Coupled with South Carolina’s impressive technical college system, the program helps demonstrate the commitment that the state has to developing its workforce, which in turn will be able to help drive profitable growth for the businesses in the area. The program itself also has a multitude of benefits, from increased high school graduation rates to greater regional collaboration to facilitating company growth and job creation.
Today, South Carolina has nearly 300,000 individuals with NCRC certificates and almost 3,000 employers that support the program. Through programs like these, the dedication to workforce development in the state becomes very clear.