Mapping Pathways to Career Opportunity

Anyone who’s been in Charleston for more than five minutes knows the region is growing. But it’s not just population growth; our economy is growing, too. Our tri-county region is the 74th largest metro in the country, but ranks in the top 10 for job growth.

Searching Indeed.com for “jobs in Charleston” returns a whopping 11,000 listings. And that number will only continue to grow. In fact, the Chamber’s Talent Demand Study (light reading for teenagers) shows that our region will add at least 35,000 jobs over the next 5 years.


That means young adults entering the workforce are swimming in job opportunities. Great news, right?


Of course, but the amount of opportunity can make young people’s difficult life decisions even harder. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz writes, “Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still.”

There are so many job opportunities right now – choosing one can be overwhelming. Many seasoned adults struggle with overcoming analysis paralysis. For teenagers, it may be a new and scary prospect that can often result in an unwise choice, or worse, in no choice at all. For teenagers trying to break out of generational poverty, all of these choices may also feel like opportunities for others and not themselves.


How can we help our students take advantage of the strong job market and make great choices?


We need a simple way to present options to students and entry-level workers; a personal roadmap that shows them multiple (but not infinite) pathways to a career with strong earning potential in the region’s highest demand sectors.

Enter a new publication called Mapping Your Path, which illustrates career paths through six industry sectors: health, construction, hospitality, IT, business and manufacturing. This series of visuals represents the first phase in our Talent team’s Career Pathways Project, designed to improve connections between young people and opportunity.

Each pathway has been validated by human resources leaders from the region’s leading companies. Students and young adults can see career starting points and progression steps from certifications to associates degrees through master’s degrees. Information sections include:

  • Future Job Projections
  • What Can I Do Now?
  • Program and Wage Data
  • Skills Needed

We believe this new tool is an important first step in helping students make better choices that lead them toward a meaningful career and a living wage. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.


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