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An update to the region’s Talent Demand Study forecasts 26,000 new jobs in the next five years. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce presented the update to more than 400 business members, community leaders and educators at the August 9 State of Education event held by the Chamber and Trident Technical College. The update, sponsored by the Charleston Metro Chamber and Charleston Regional Development Alliance, was completed in May, 2016 to provide current data on the workforce pipeline for the region’s fastest growing industries.
The full Talent Demand Study, originally completed and distributed in 2014, showed local talent shortages in key fields. As a result, the region is overly dependent upon recruiting workers from out-of-state. The update, which is part of the One Region Global Competitiveness Strategy, shows that the region’s job growth continues to accelerate rapidly in the highest demand fields.
“The estimate of 26,000 new jobs is very conservative, as evidenced by the fact that in the last twelve months, 11,000 new jobs were created in our region,” said Mary Graham, Chief Advancement Officer for the Charleston Metro Chamber. “We need to make sure that our high schools are preparing our kids for the job opportunities here.”
Occupation clusters forecasted to grow more than 10 percent are (in order) software and IT; production; mathematics; marketing; engineering; communications; business and medical. The study update shows that the occupations expected to have the largest workforce shortages are general assemblers (838 jobs), accounting support (345) and software developers (278).
The Chamber, in partnership with several regional education and business partners, is working to increase metro Charleston’s talent pipeline in several impactful areas. In 2013, seven Career Academies at five local high schools were launched to engage students in high demand work sectors. Since that time, Career Academies have grown by over 742 percent with 62 Academies in 22 high schools for the 2016/2017 academic year.
A second pipeline driver is through the Youth Apprenticeship programs which connect high school juniors and seniors with local companies who hire them as apprentices while in school. At completion, students will earn a high school diploma, a Trident Technical College certificate, a journeyman credential from the U.S. Department of Labor and two years’ work experience. The Chamber pays all costs associated with the program, including tuition and books.
The Charleston Metro Chamber continues to build the local talent pipeline through additional programs, services and tools that aid students in their knowledge of the types of careers available in the region and the paths to career and job attainment. Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative named the Chamber as the Convener of the High School Graduation Network in 2015.
These efforts are making a noticeable impact in both connecting businesses with educators and creating career- and college-ready graduates. However, the rapid job growth continues to create significant shortages.
The Talent Demand Study and update is produced by Avalanche Consulting. For more information about the study and the Chamber’s work in talent visit charlestonchamber.net/talentdemandstudyupdate/