Charleston’s Robust Talent Pipeline

By Brent Jonas

The Denver Broncos are World Champions. One of the first questions the media asks of a champion is, “Can you repeat?” Flush with the thrill of victory, the new champions emphatically say “yes!” while critics say, “Well, they may not have the talent to get back here next year.”

After our recent economic development wins, the Charleston region faces a similar question from companies, site selection consultants, and economic development professionals – “Congratulations on your wins. Now, do you have the talent to sustain this growth?”

This question was at the heart of our latest Quarterly Investor Briefing. Jacki Renegar from the Center for Business Research demonstrated that the area’s talent pipeline is far from drying up. It is robust.

  • Labor force is growing five times faster than the U.S. as a whole, with a net in-migration of 11,000 people a year.
  • 62% of residents are aged 18 to 44
  • 63% of them have some level of higher education.
  • 900 highly-skilled military personnel separating annually from Joint Base Charleston
  • 13,700 annual graduates of area high schools and colleges.

For more data, click here.

Terrance Rivers from readySC’s job is to match available talent with new job opportunities and then provide additional training to fill those opportunities. A major tool in the state’s economic development toolbox, readySC provides specialized training for companies such as Boeing, and will soon train workers for the new Mercedes and Volvo operations.

Robert Bosch’s Larry Lautenschlager highlighted the importance of a highly-trained workforce with an illustration of how one minute of downtime can cost a manufacturer thousands of dollars. He explained how the market has tightened for qualified engineers, and highlighted the need for higher education institutions to align with the needs of the private sector.

Finally, Marc Murphy SPARC’s CEO described how the rising tide in the Charleston IT sector is making it easier to recruit employees. In the past highly-skilled workers may have been less likely to move to Charleston because of a perceived lack of options. Now, he says, they can build a long and lucrative careers here because the number of available jobs has grown dramatically. This is the challenge we face, educating others around the country that Charleston is a robust and growing technology hub.

100+ area business leaders walked away with new data demonstrating that our region can answer the talent question now, and an understanding that addressing the issue head on will ensure that we can answer it in the future.

Contact Us:

Brent Jonas
Brent Jonas | Director, Stakeholder Relations
843.760.4523 |

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