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Local meeting highlights workforce development, business initiatives

Nate Lauger helps people find local jobs in a variety of industries and has noticed a significant decline in the number of skilled workers he serves.

On Thursday, Lauger, operations manager for Manpower, was one of several CSRA business professionals who attended this month’s Good Morning, North Augusta speaker series hosted by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors for the event included Bridgestone, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, and SRP Federal Credit Union.

“If you’re looking for skills, it’s a lot harder,” he said.

Specifically, Lauger said many workers lack the hand skills needed to perform various types of jobs, such as electrical work.

This month’s guest speakers were from the South Carolina Department of Commerce and discussed several topics, including small businesses, innovation, and workforce development.

“Ninety-five percent of all businesses in South Carolina are small businesses,” said the department’s Manager of Innovation, Nancy Conwell.

Conwell and her team want to find companies in the state that are incorporating innovative technological processes into the products and services they create.

“Success is celebrated, and failure is celebrated because even if they fail, something great will come out of it,” she said.

Joni McDaniel serves as one of the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s regional workforce advisors, which helps to create a more skilled workforce by offering integrated learning opportunities for students across the state.

“We partner with K12 schools and technical colleges,” McDaniel said.

She and her team also partner with various businesses, such as Boeing.

“Boeing works with us and visits all 46 counties throughout the state,” McDaniel said.

Lauger said high schools don’t always prepare students for certain jobs.

“They took woodshop out of schools, and they don’t teach home economics anymore,” he said.

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