I wanted to write and again let you know a little of what we’ve been doing this week.
Once again, I’ve been struck by the number of people who tell me they’re not interested in the ongoing political circus in Columbia, but rather in what the state’s leaders plan on doing to move our state forward in these challenging economic times. Along those lines, I think it’s worth reading op-eds by Kevin Fisher in Columbia and Keith Munson in the Upstate.
On Monday and Tuesday, I spoke with and met a number of business leaders and CEOs to advance the ball with regard to the state’s economic development. Although these kinds of efforts have been central to our work over the last seven years – as evidenced by the fact that Google, Boeing, Adidas, Starbucks, Michelin, among many others, have made major investments in South Carolina in recent years – it was nice to see the Associated Press take note of our continued efforts. As the AP put it, “Business leaders say they’re seeing [our administration] more engaged in economic development efforts than ever.”
Tuesday had us over in Marion County, where the Softee Supreme Diaper Company announced a $6 million investment that will create 262 jobs. This represents the single largest economic announcement in Marion County since the Department of Commerce was created in 1991. Later that day, I spoke to a Rotary Club down in Walterboro, again emphasizing the need to undertake serious reform efforts in the 2010 legislative session – especially restructuring, spending caps, and tort reform.
On Wednesday, I was able to visit a class at Lake Marion High School in Santee that’s participating in South Carolina’s Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG-SC) program. As the Times & Democrat explained, “Thirty-five LMHS students take part in JAG-SC, a dropout prevention program focused on academic success and career readiness skills.” I spoke to a bright and engaged group of young people about making sure they’re aiming towards a goal in life, and I was incredibly impressed by the responses many of them had to my questions.
The next day I visited the Savannah River Site, where I was given a tour of some of the facilities there. From there we headed over to Aiken Technical College’s One-Stop Career Center (click here for video coverage), where I was able to get some working knowledge of how our state can best connect people with jobs.
Finally, today our office announced a roundtable discussion on workforce development scheduled for later this month. We plan on hosting state legislators, business and community leaders, government officials, and members of the media and public to discuss reform at the Employment Security Commission, as well as the best way to address the billion-dollar Unemployment Insurance deficit. It’s a serious issue, and we look forward to a productive discussion – more on this to come . . .
Again, thanks again for all you do, and let’s keep making our voices heard.
(Photos from the Orangeburg Times & Democrat and the Augusta Chronicle)