The S.C. Chamber of Commerce is partnering with four professional organizations to launch Be Pro Be Proud SC, a mobile skills workshop and workforce development project three years in the making, this fall.
The Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation, made up of the chamber, the S.C. Trucking Association, Carolinas AGC, Home Builders Association of South Carolina and the Forestry Association of South Carolina, is launching the project-on-wheels in an effort to attract talent to fields including transportation and logistics, utilities, construction, and diesel technology.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show available jobs in those sectors are projected to increase by as much as 25% in South Carolina in the next 10 years, according to a news release from the S.C. chamber.
“Building a workforce that aligns with the opportunities that exist in South Carolina is crucial to the future of our state,” Ted Pitts, S.C. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said in the release. “Be Pro Be Proud SC brings opportunities in skilled trades and professions across the Palmetto State. We need a workforce for the future, and Be Pro Be Proud SC is the solution.”
The workshop is a custom-designed, 53-foot 18-wheeler featuring hands-on simulators for commercial driving, forklift and heavy equipment operation, carpentry and welding, among other industry applications. The tractor-trailer will tour schools and events around the state.
Modeled after a program in Arkansas, the project first gained recognition in South Carolina in April 2017, when the Arkansas truck made an appearance at the S.C. Statehouse to mark the initiative’s introduction. But $950,000 earmarked for the program was cut from S.C.’s state budget that year.
South Carolina will become only the second state in the country to feature the Be Pro Be Proud program, according to the news release.
“Now more than ever, the country is seeing the value of skilled trades,” Leslie Clark, vice president of operations/director of government relations for Carolinas AGC, said. “The mobile workshop showcases the unlimited options of skilled trade careers, and Carolinas AGC is honored to be a part of the rollout.”
Wayne Moore, president of the Home Builders Association of SC, said the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce estimates an additional 24,000 new construction workers are needed to meet the state’s current demand.
“HBASC is proud to help initiate Be Pro Be Proud SC to raise awareness about the great-paying job opportunities in the construction trades and to recruit the next generation of skilled labor in the housing industry,” Moore said.