MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Seven Grand Strand residents took their first step into the workforce on Thursday.

All seven received a certificate from South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette to celebrate their completion of a youth employability skills program through the nonprofit Partnership Grand Strand. The ceremony was at the Adult Education Center on North Oak Street in Myrtle Beach.

During the four-day workshop, the participants, who were between 14 and 24 years old, learned how to build resumes, fill out job applications and other career development skills.

Evette said those who complete the workshop play a big roll in the state’s workforce.

“You know those favorite coffee shops, ice cream parlors that can’t stay open past seven o’clock that we’re closing down on Sunday, it’s because they don’t have enough workers,” Evette said. “Kids make perfect workers in those spaces. Our small businesses need them.”

Representatives from several Myrtle Beach-area businesses attended the graduation and conducted job interviews before the ceremony. Some even offered hiring incentives.

“Think about all the things you want. Think about all those things your parents say no to,” Evette said. “Getting a job gives you the freedom to get someone those cool tennis shoes you want. Maybe that jersey — maybe those great jeans. But, it gives you the perspective of what it takes to get those.”

The Y.E.S. program is slated to be held again next year and hopes to continue encouraging youth as they enter the workforce.

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Aundrea Gibbons joined the News13 team in May 2023 after graduating from Clemson University with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and communication. Aundrea is a Marion native and graduated as salutatorian in 2019. Follow Aundrea on Twitter and read more of her work here.