Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Community Leads Efforts In Workforce Readiness; Training Fair Planned for November 15


                  MAYOR EARL LOLLIS MEYERS, 369-2466

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             11/8/2011

         HONEA PATH --- A group of community leaders met recently to discuss facilitating a "Work-Ready Community" in the Belton/Honea Path area by promoting services, training and skills upgrades.   Civic, church, industry and school leaders, along with Workforce Development Alliance representatives from the Belton/Honea Path area, discussed what services their organizations provide to area residents and employers. 

         Being a Work-Ready Community means the workforce has the skills necessary to fill the needs of existing and potential employers.  By becoming work ready, the community is asserting that individuals understand what skills are required by employers and they know how to gain access to the training that is necessary to obtain those skills. 

         A "Work-Ready" training fair focusing on how individuals can obtain the skills needed for area jobs is set for November 15 at the Watkins Community Center in Honea Path. The Belton-Honea Path Area Work Ready Training Fair, which will be held from 3 - 6 p.m., will be presented by the City of Belton and the Town of Honea Path.

         There will be giveaways and prizes available for those taking full advantage of the event.

         The purpose of the fair is to help the community understand what skills are required by local employers, training opportunities available to upgrade their skills so they are qualified for area jobs, and the resources that are available to help pay for that training.

         The following partners will be on-site at the fair to provide information and to pre-screen an individual's eligibility to receive training assistance: Goodwill Job Connection, Job Corps, Palmetto Youth Connections, Project Hope and Worklink/SCWorks/WIA.  Educational partners include: Anderson County Adult Education, Vocational Rehab and Gateway to College.

         "We expect economic growth, and we must begin to prepare for growth in the community by improving our skills to attract new and emerging industry.  Our community involvement creates a win-win for the community, citizens and industrial growth that is vital to a strong Belton- Honea Path area," said Rep. Mike Gambrell.

         In 1950, unskilled positions accounted for 80 percent of U.S. jobs, but today, nearly 70 percent of our country's professions require skilled workers who have technical and critical-thinking skills.

         Honea Path Mayor Earl Lollis Meyers said, "We are working to find a way to increase the 'work readiness' skills of individuals to meet the ever-changing technology in industry today. The key is the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared" for industry growth.  There is a national problem with skill gaps between the workforce and the employer that has left businesses and industry without a pipeline of the skilled workers for the rapidly changing economy."

         "This November 15 event will be a wonderful opportunity for people in the Belton-Honea Path community to learn more about the job training resources available to them and to explore programs that are of particular interest to them.  We really encourage job seekers to come out and take advantage of this opportunity," said Becky Godbey, vice president of Career Development Services for Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina

          In addition, a Benefits Fair conducted by the Benefit Bank of South Carolina also will be located on-site. This is a counselor-assisted application process which allows individuals to complete a single application for multiple benefits or services including food stamps (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Gap Assistance Pharmacy Program for Seniors (GAPS), Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), SC property tax exemption and filing State and Federal income taxes. 

         This training fair is a follow-up to the Belton-Honea Path Area Work Ready Community Luncheon on October 18, which hosted various community leaders, industry partners and assistance resources partner agencies to launch the Tri-County Work Ready Initiative.  Additional Work-Ready Initiative events are being planned for other locations in the tri-county area.  For more information, call Rick Cothran at 864-646-1700 or Mayor Earl Lollis Meyers at 369-2466.


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