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Greenville, SC Launches Initiative to Develop Next-Generation Workforce.

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- With the state's unemployment rate soaring to 12.1% in June, one South Carolina county has launched an innovative workforce development initiative to ensure that Greenville County is primed to enjoy long-term economic success and per capita income growth.

Greenville Works, a collaborative of 12 public and private sector non-profits spanning education, workforce development, economic development and public policy, unveiled plans to implement a strategic approach to next-generation workforce development for the County.
 The innovative strategy focuses on four primary areas of improvement:
 -- gaining feedback from businesses on workforce needs and other issues
 -- working with educational systems to develop curriculum that prepares
 the workforce to meet business needs
 -- providing career information to youths and adults to ensure
 understanding of requirements, opportunities, and career paths

 -- building sector-based workforce development programs to ensure skill
 availability within target sectors.

Impetus for Greenville Works came from the county's acclaimed Business Retention and Expansion Program that interviewed manufacturers, headquarters and service providers to better understand issues and needs. That program produced insight on topics from regulatory concerns to expansion incentives. Yet from more than 300 company visits, workforce issues dominated.

Workforce concerns impacted each company differently, whether in its ability to compete globally, to staff optimally, to achieve superior productivity, or to compete for internal capital or adapt to changing markets. Organizers realized that without a long-term workforce strategy, many of the foundational industry segments would erode, and emerging knowledge-based segments would flow to areas where higher productivity and product/service quality could be obtained.

Because workforce development and quality is closely linked to sustainable economic growth and influenced by educational systems, major providers of these services in Greenville County came together and committed to a strategic planning process. From the county's economic development arm, the Greenville Area Development Corporation, to the Greenville Chamber and Greenville Technical College, twelve partner organizations collaborated to create the strategic blueprint for long-term workforce development in the county - the first in the state, and believed to be among the first nationally.

While workforce availability is less an issue during the economic slowdown, Greenville Works' strategy balances long-term planning for workforce development while addressing short-term shortages of talent in industries still flourishing.

Task forces have been established to execute primary objectives of the strategic plan, which focus on:
 -- Information systems
 -- Entry level and life-long learning improvement
 -- Improved career decision-making
 -- Certification and apprenticeship programs

 -- Industry cluster support

The goal is to create a system to ensure that employers can draw on qualified resources and talent with the skills and training necessary to meet and exceed market demands, organizers note. Greenville Works will measure results through employer evaluation of labor force attributes, capital investment and job creation from new and existing industry, and impact on per capita income.
 For information, visit

 Contact: John Baker, 864.335-9198

CONTACT: John Baker of Greenville Works, +1-864-335-9198,

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 2009
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