Officials say nearly half the available jobs in South Carolina require education beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree, yet only 29% of available workers meet those criteria.
A new job training initiative through the City of Columbia will help prepare under-employed and unemployed workers to fill those positions.
“Work It Up” will provide grants up to $3,000 for 20 individuals to train for employment in healthcare, manufacturing, construction and trades – as well as creative careers.
Gloria Saeed with the TN Development Corporation says participants will go through Midlands Technical College's QuickJobs program so they can complete training within 12 months.
“In the past few years due to the economic downturn, some people have lost jobs where they have had to take lower-paying wages and then some people aren't working at all,” Saeed tells WVOC.
“And so for us, this is the way to help people be able to become employed, be able to support their families, stabilize communities and make Columbia a better place to live.”
In order to qualify, Saeed says applicants must reside with Columbia zip codes 29203 and 29204, live within a targeted neighborhood as designated by the city's Community Development Consolidated Plan, and have total household income 80-percent or below the Area Median Income as defined by federal guidelines.
Over the next few weeks, four public information sessions will be held on the Work It Up initiative, starting with one Saturday in the Booker Washington Heights neighborhood at St. John Baptist Church, Farrow Road and Beltline Boulevard, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, you can call (803) 545-3767 or check online at http://columbia.sc.gov/jobtraining.