Group looking for workforce answers | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 6, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm
Finding skilled workers with good manners, the ability to pass a drug test, and the training to work well with others in an industrial environment can be difficult. In an effort to get employees and industry talking about each other’s concerns, Palmetto Training executives held a meeting Friday at the training center on Thunderbolt Drive for Colleton County and regional employers, educators, and workforce developers. Attending were Bubba Smyly, owner of Paper Converters, Inc.; Eddie Jackson of Palmetto Training; Tony Pollen with workforce development at the Lowcountry Council of Governments; representatives of JGBR; Heyward Horton of the Colleton Economic Alliance; Dr. Franklin Foster, Dr. Juliet Stoute-White, Dr. Melissa Crosby and William Hayden of Colleton County School District; Barry Moore of The Press and Standard, representing the SouthernCarolina Alliance; and 18 others representing agencies that help workers find jobs and industry find employees.
“My company doesn’t need employees with advanced math degrees,” said Kline “Bubba” Smyly, owner of Paper Converters, Inc. on Thunderbolt Drive. “But somebody I hire has to be able to read a tape measure. And many I interview can’t. We’re a small, but growing, company. I started out with one employee 14 years ago, and now have 23. I’m looking to expand and hire 10 more next year. But they have to pass a drug test and do basic math. Also, I have been surprised that only two former workers from Dayco have filled out an employment application. You’d think there would be a lot of Dayco people looking for work right now.”
“What we’re talking about is a universal problem,” said Jackson. “I’ve done work in Allendale, Sumter, Clarendon County, Aiken. Everyone is facing the same issues. Even Boeing and Volvo. We must find a way to do a better job of teaching our young people a skill and the soft skills that go along with it. Everybody is not going to go to college to get a degree. I didn’t, and I’ve been successful.”
“I didn’t go to college either,” said Smyly. “I started with nothing. But I worked hard; learned a business. Then 14 years later I bought the company.”