CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina’s lieutenant governor visited Coastal Carolina University on Thursday to talk about workforce development with the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.
Representatives from Santee Cooper and Conway Medical Center also talked about how the workforce needs to continue to improve and grow.
“Here in South Carolina, we’ve been very focused on creating the workforce of tomorrow, making sure that the world-class companies that are coming here to our state have the workforce that they need,” Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette said.
The Grand Strand is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country but ranks low for people obtaining college degrees. Recent U.S. Census Data shows nearly 30% of the state’s residents 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree. In Horry County, that number is about 24%.
CCU officials acknowledge the need for higher education credentials across the state. Evette said colleges influence the workforce starting at a young age.
“Many of the skills that we find our employees are lacking are soft skills, things that you learn in that first job,” Evette said. “So for all the parents that are watching, realize we need your children.”
Evette said the problem isn’t limited to South Carolina. It’s a worldwide issue. She also said colleges can help give hope to young adults looking for a path while solving the current problems employers face.
“When you get your kids employed and they get out there and see the real world and they see what’s going on and they see the difference that education makes, it inspires them to make sure that they stay in school, they do well,” she said.
Dr. Lee Brown, the dean of CCU’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, said they created the program two years ago and have seen a significant increase in adult enrollment.
“Trying to be flexible, convenient, for that mom that has to work and has an issue with daycare or has to be home in the evening, being able to provide that access to education is where we sort of hang our hat on,” Brown said.
CCU recently began offering a program called CCU Complete that allows students who have earned some college credit in the past but did not finish to return and take up to five classes for $100 each.
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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.