Programs offered to benefit businesses and high-risk job applicants

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MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW) – Unemployment rates reaching an all-time low have employers challenged to fill more jobs than there are suitable workers for the positions.

Two programs are offered to Horry County businesses on Friday creating a solution, one that benefits a group of applicants too.

The work opportunity tax credit and federal bonding programs provide incentives to employers willing to give high risk applicants a second chance.

“It may help them consider applicants they would have normally passed over by giving them a tax credit or a risk mitigation tool through the fidelity insurance policy,” Amy Hill, Workforce and Economic Development Program Manager said.

South Carolina’s unemployment rate sits at a record low 2.6%, with Horry County’s rate just below that at 2.4 percent.  

“We are struggling to find applicants for jobs, and we have plenty of open jobs and positions,” Stephen Greene, president, and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Hospitality Association said.

In a tourism-rich county, two leading sectors need a lot of workers, hospitality and retail. 

Seventy thousand jobs are available in South Carolina. Horry County accounts for nearly 4,200. When broken down by industry sector, retail and accommodation openings account for a significant number.

“It gives small businesses an incentive to give folks a chance, folks that may have some kind of barrier that makes them at risk to hire whether it’s a criminal record or something in the past that may be hindering them right now.” Mark Hendrick, Director of Governmental Affairs, tells News13.

Both programs also assist in financial savings, reducing general tax liability, and mitigating risk.

“Anything that can help us on the state-federal or local level to give incentives for businesses to hire individuals who may have some history or issues in their employment in the past is a win for us and a win for these individuals,” Greene said.

The federal bonding and WOTC program will also help people charged with a DUI, someone recovering from addiction, or have has poor personal credit get back in the workforce.

Workers must meet the legal age requirements for employment and self-employment is not covered.

Businesses are required to submit a WOTC certification request within 28 days of the employee’s start date. For WOTC services and to locate a South Carolina Works center nearby, click here.

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