“Be Pro Be Proud” effort aims to attract skilled workers in SC

The "Be Pro Be Proud" truck was parked at the Statehouse Tuesday.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)—The South Carolina Senate wants to try something new to attract students and adults looking for jobs into the skilled workforce. It’s an initiative called “Be Pro Be Proud.”

The idea is for a semi to take a special trailer around the state, to middle schools, high schools, and technical colleges, as well as trade shows and adult career fairs. Inside the trailer are hands-on displays of skilled jobs, like welding, plumbing, and electrical. Students and adults will learn what’s required to get those jobs, which don’t require a four-year college degree, and the kind of pay they can earn.

Gov. Henry McMaster says, “We must have the workers to do these skilled jobs, and we believe the impediment is that they don’t realize what all is available.”

The effort brings together trade groups that have jobs available but can’t find the workers to fill those jobs. In South Carolina, more than 74 percent of commercial contracting firms say they have a hard time finding skilled workers.

The jobs include construction and truck drivers. Nearly half of the people who hold commercial drivers licenses, or CDLs , in South Carolina are over the age of 52, which means an even bigger shortage is looming as many of those drivers retire.

The Senate put $950,000 in next year’s state budget to pay for the truck and send it around the state. The program is based on one already up and running in Arkansas, which is where the truck is from that was parked in front of the Statehouse Tuesday to show lawmakers. The House will have to agree to put that money in the budget.

You can learn more about the initiative at https://www.beprobeproud.org/

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