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Lawmakers Experience Be Pro Be Proud SC Mobile Workshop

Fri, 01/29/2021

Be Pro Be Proud SC Gives Lawmakers an Interactive Opportunity at the Statehouse

Gov. McMaster and members of the General Assembly Get Hands-On Experience with Unique Mobile Workshop

 

If you drove past the statehouse on Thursday, you would have noticed an impressive 18-wheeler parked on the grounds. This 53-foot, custom built semi-trailer tours the state, providing an interactive experience for students where skilled-trade jobs, like manufacturing, construction, commercial driving and heavy equipment, comes to life. However, on Thursday, South Carolina members of the General Assembly, as well as other elected officials and their staff had their chance to get in on the action. Thursday’s stop of the military-grade, double-expandable semi-trailer allowed legislators to experience the Be Pro Be Proud SC movement in person.

“It is wonderful to see this example of how a public-private partnership can work. In less than four months, the Be Pro Be Proud SC mobile workshop has already helped shape future decisions for more than 700 students who have signed up and stated they want to learn more about entering a career in a skilled-trade industry. That is vitally important for the workforce and economic vitality of our state. South Carolina has a growing demand for these jobs, so the sooner we can equip students with the necessary education and certifications, the sooner we can help them find work that sets them up for long-term stability and success,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director, Dan Ellzey.

The Be Proud Be Proud SC initiative is a flourishing partnership of public and private organizations. The Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation (AISCF) raised enough money to get this impressive professional-skill simulator on the road and state legislators are to thank for providing the first year of operational costs, which allows DEW to bring this mobile workshop to school districts across the state at no cost to them.

Since it launched in September of 2020, the initiative is proving to be much more than just an interactive experience for visitors. It’s been making a splash in the state as it peaks interest and creates a pipeline of potential workers who can fill the growing demand in skilled trade industries.

“This is important work and we’re very proud to be a part of it. The need is here and the high-paying jobs are available. The link to success is the future generation of young people ready to step into these professional jobs that offer a career path, security, benefits, stability and a sense of pride. The fact that we’ve seen such a huge interest from school districts state wide, especially during a pandemic, really speaks volumes to how special and effective this innovative experience is when helping students think about their future,” continued Director Ellzey.

The Big Picture

  • Over 24% of South Carolina’s current skilled professionals are at or near retirement age
  • 48% of South Carolina CDL holders are 53+ years old.
  • More than 53% of all skilled construction employees in the U.S. are 45+ years or older.
  • More than 82% of employers in skilled professions report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers
  • By 2025 the skills gap is expected to grow, with 2 million jobs going unfilled.

Inside, visitors experience eight hands-on module simulators for forklift operation, commercial driving, utility bucket operation, diesel technology, heavy equipment operation, welding, construction technology and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine operation

Quick Facts (September – December 2020)

  • Be Pro Be Proud SC launched September 3, 2020.
  • 34 tour stops have been completed statewide
  • More than 2400 visitors have walked through the mobile workshop.
  • 720 students "Joined the Movement" and want to learn about how to enter a skilled-trade career.

The idea for this mobile workshop comes from the state of Arkansas where Be Pro Be Proud was created in 2016. More than 1000,000 students have participated in their program since conception. South Carolina is the second state in the country to launch a mobile workshop and workforce development project like this.

For more information, visit the Be Pro Be Proud SC website at https://www.beprobeproudsc.org/.

If you’re interested in booking the Be Pro Be Proud SC mobile workshop, you can request a tour stop here.

 

About Be Pro Be Proud SC:

The Be Pro Be Proud SC project was created to close the gap between job seekers and employers’ needs for a qualified workforce. Taking a unique, targeted approach to removing the stigma from “blue-collar” jobs, its goal is to educate students and the public on the appeal and the importance of these jobs for our economy.

Be Pro Be Proud SC is made possible through a public-private collaboration of leaders of the Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation (AISCF) and the Department of Employment & Workforce (DEW), and other state education, workforce, and economic development agencies. Capital to build the mobile workshop and provide the job simulators comes from the private sector. DEW and other public sectors will fund the campaign’s operation

The Associated Industries of South Carolina Foundation (AISCF) consists of five member organizations that are launching Be Pro Be Proud SC. AISCF consists of: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, The South Carolina Trucking Association, Carolinas AGC, Home Builders Association of South Carolina, and The Forestry Association of South Carolina.

About the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is putting South Carolinians to work. The agency has four missions: (1) workforce development; (2) free job match employment services; (3) unemployment insurance; and (4) labor market information. All four missions contribute to workforce development. The agency is dedicated to advancing South Carolina through services and programs that meet the needs of our businesses, jobseekers and those looking to advance their careers.