Talent Advancement

The jobs are coming, are we ready?

Bridging the Talent Gap

Our region will add 35,000 new jobs over the next five years, according to the 2018 Talent Demand Study update. The biggest factor holding back job growth is the lack of qualified applicants to fill the positions. We must take action now to bridge the talent gap.

This is where we come in. The Chamber, fueled by Accelerate Greater Charleston, is working with regional partners to drive educational change. Our ongoing strategy involves a three-prong approach: Activate, Advance and Align.

We need your help! Become a part of the Chamber’s efforts to bridge our talent gap.

Middle-skill jobs, requiring education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of South Carolina’s labor market.

Young minds for the future


We believe that exposing students to what jobs are in high-demand and showing them how to pursue the education needed is the way forward.

Preparing our future workforce begins today. Activities that increase opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom through the lens of career pathways helps begin to bridge the gap.

We activate through:

  • Career Academies: schools-within-schools that are academically rigorous and provide career-themed education in key industries.
  • TEALS: delivers high-quality instruction and hands-on learning in coding and computer science 
  • Capstone Experiences: field-based learning experiences where students apply knowledge and experience industry settings, including: Bridge Walks, Build a Shed, Hackathons, TEALS and YPAMA

We are proud to help guide students to find their future college or career path

The graduation rate is 13% higher for South Carolina students who take three or more career education classes.

Opportunities for success


Students must understand what avenues are available when it comes to post high school education. Too many young people today believe that there is only one path to economic success—the four-year degree. For many, time, duration and cost are barriers.

There are opportunities out there that allow for flexibility in learning and earning, often with faster completion times and no to low debt, and we need to be the ones shining a light.

We advance through:

  • Youth Apprenticeships: students take high school classes, attend career-specific classes at Trident Technical College and work at a host employer, completing the program with a diploma, certifications and paid work experience… debt free
  • Developing workforce-savvy educators: provide professional development for educators
  • Leverage Government Relations: advocate for improved education policy and funding structures

We’ve made it easier for you to find your career fit in the Charleston region

Low-income students in early college programs are 8x as likely to obtain a college degree.

Employers and our education system


Engaging the business community and education leaders in discussions allows for the creation of programs that align with employer talent demand and encourages students into those pathways.

It’s about continuing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a changing reality.

We align through:

  • The Talent Cabinet: an advisory body of business, education and community leaders guiding the Chamber’s Talent Advancement platform
  • Promoting the Center for Business Research: the premiere research capabilities for internal and external economic development needs, for example, the Talent Demand Study 
  • Building community partnerships: actively engage with community partners pursuing improved education outcomes such as Tri-County Cradle to Career Coalition, Trident United Way and others
  • The Human Resources Professional Network: executives from industry coming together to share smart practices and engage with experts on key topics

30+ new STEM degrees added to the region since the 2016 Talent Demand Study

Career Academies

Career-themed schools within high schools, teaching students relevant skills for key industries

Learn More

Youth Apprenticeships

Where students go to high school, Trident Tech and work as paid apprentices at host company

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Build A Shed

Students compete to build a shed while gaining valuable construction trade skills

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Helping close the computer science gap by increasing access to education

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Meet the Talent Advancement Team

Senior Vice President of Talent Advancement
Tina Wirth
Associate Vice President of Career Preparedness Programs
Suzi Raiford
Director of the Center for Business Research
Jacki Renegar
Associate Vice President of Talent Pipeline Strategies
Robin Willis

Get engaged in the Chamber’s Talent Advancement work