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Columbia unveils job training initiative

Staff Report
Published May 1, 2013

Community development groups Eau Claire Development Corp. and TN Development Corp. announced Monday a job training initiative geared toward assisting Columbia residents who are unemployed or underemployed.

The “Work It Up” initiative will provide grants up to $3,000 for 20 individuals whose total household income is 80% or below the area median income as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“We have the jobs and we have the workforce,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin in a news release. “Work It Up brings it all together providing new opportunities and training in our region’s most dynamic industries to those who need it most.”

The development corporations have partnered with Richland School District One Adult Education and Midlands Technical College to provide Work Keys assessments and Quick Jobs courses. All coursework can be completed within 12 months or less.

“Right now in South Carolina, 45% of the available jobs require education beyond high school but less than a four-year degree, yet only 29% of available workers meet those criteria, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce,” Midlands Technical College President Marshall White said in a news release.

Employers around the Midlands have expressed a need for trained employees in the following occupations: health care, manufacturing, construction and trades as well as creative careers, according to a news release. Some of the employers expressing interest thus far include Verizon, Palmetto Health, International Paper, Mars Inc., Michelin and Wells Fargo.

To qualify for the program, applicants must live in Columbia ZIP code areas 29203 and 29204 and live within a targeted neighborhood as designated by the city’s Community Development Consolidated Plan.

Information sessions will be held:

  • May 4 at St. John Baptist, 3404 W. Beltline Blvd., 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • May 6 at St. Anna’s Park, 1310 Lyon St., 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • May 11 at Big Brothers Big Sisters, 4300 N. Main St., 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • May 23 at Earlewood Park Community Center, 1113 Parkside Drive, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

To register for the program, click here.

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