Pee Dee Local Workforce Development Area partners for a federal grant

 The Upper Savannah COG is one of nine organizations nationwide to receive U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) funding to help provide training and employment services for job seekers as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts.  USCOG’s workforce development staff applied for the funding on behalf of a consortium of five workforce development areas across the state. 

The Pee Dee Regional COG is a part of the consortium receiving the funds. Together, the five areas had more than 100,000 claimants exhaust unemployment insurance (UI). As of July 2021, South Carolina no longer provided Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. The funding will be used to help reach those who have exhausted their UI and need re-employment.

Ann Skinner of Upper Savannah COG said "There is unprecedented need at this time for workforce services. Employers are rebuilding their workforce following the pandemic. Job seekers are struggling to find jobs which pay as much as the pandemic unemployment benefits paid. We will conduct targeted job development to create On-the-Job Training (OJT) opportunities. It is anticipated that significant staff support will be needed to help clients develop soft skills. We will offer supportive services (transportation, dependent care, medical and work clothing). Utilizing OJT will align training with employer needs and provide immediate income support for dislocated workers,” Skinner said.

The grant funding will help local businesses as well as job seekers. OJT reimburses employers 50 – 75 percent of new hire wages. The Pee Dee Local Workforce Development Area's portion of the grant is about $500,000 and will be used to provide OJT opportunities to about 60 jobseekers. All five areas of the consortium operate formula dislocated worker programs and connect with partners as part of the SC Works system, she said. This grant will build on those connections.

Credit: Upper Savannah Council of Governments newsletter