Job Skills Needed

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By Richard K. Blackwell and Trent Acker

A major part of any economic development plan is people.

Without a well trained workforce, a community cannot expect to bring in and create new jobs no matter how much money is put into buildings, infrastructure and sustainability. Identifying and developing quality employees are the first steps and the most important step in any economic development plan, which is why investing in workforce development is crucial to any growing community.

But workforce development isn’t just about starting early and maintaining a baseline. As industry standards continue to change and technology continues to develop, we also need to strengthen the flip side of the coin, which is continuing education. We need to be training for the next wave of jobs.

Again, back to the basic principle of good people as the first step in a prosperous economy, continual economic development simply cannot happen without continual workforce education.

That is why Oconee County is lucky to have a partner in the Worklink Workforce Development Board, which is part of the SC Works system. WorkLink, along with their partners, operates SC Works Centers in Anderson, Seneca, Easley and Clemson which offers a wide variety of resources to jobseekers and employers including reemployment services, partner services, business services and resource rooms for use when filing for unemployment benefits or searching for jobs online.

In the last six months, the Seneca SC Works Center has helped nearly 3,000 people receive services described above. Having this resource is crucial for continued success of our economic development pursuits.

Worklink works with both large and small businesses, which is a something that many employers and potential employees don’t know and there are great benefits for both.

Small businesses might be especially interested in recruitment and screening services available at the SC Works Centers. By listing a job with the SC Works Online Services (SCWOS), an employer can avoid the hassles of being contacted by unqualified applicants. SCWOS is an internet-based, virtual recruiting tool designed to assist businesses in searching for the right candidate to fill job openings.

For people looking for new jobs, Worklink will be hosting a job fair on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton. There will be about 50 employers from across the Oconee area.

It’s clear that Oconee County is primed for industry, our resources are ready to support investment, and our community offers an ideal lifestyle for new residents. Let’s work together to make sure our people and their development remain our number one asset.


Richard K. Blackwell is the executive director of Oconee Economic Alliance. To learn more visit Trent Acker is the executive director of the Worklink Workforce Development Board. To learn more visit

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