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State Chamber Announces Workforce Innovator Awards Winners at 2017 Workforce Symposium

February 8, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the small, medium, and large employer award winners for this year’s Workforce Innovator Award. The winners represent the Chamber members who have used their own resources and ingenuity to implement private sector workforce development solutions to address the skills gap and help create a South Carolina workforce of the future.  The following businesses will be awarded today at the 2017 Workforce Symposium, hosted in partnership with SCDEW and SWDB and presented by Bank of America.                                                         


Small employer: PPG, Chester
For many years, the PPG—Chester Plant has been a role model for K12 and higher education support not only in Chester County but throughout the region.  Driven by the direct involvement of their senior management, the plant has provided financial support for countless robotics and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects in middle and high schools.  They have also invested in local Junior Achievement entrepreneurship programs, in the purchase of new equipment for local career centers, and in the Summer Externships for Educators program that provides high school teachers the chance to work in industry during their summer break.


Medium employer: Sonesta Resort, Hilton Head Island
Sonesta Resort developed the School Incentive Partnership program to grow local talent.  It started with the Hilton Head High School and, based on the program's success, it has been expanded to the other public schools across the island.  The company recruits school students (age 16 and older), teachers, administrators, custodial staff, cafeteria attendants, school bus drivers, and Board of Education professionals into available part-time and full-time positions throughout the hotel.  In addition to normal wages Sonesta agrees to donate $1.00 per employee for each hour they work to any school-sponsored academic club, activity, sport, or organization.


Large employer: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Aiken
For nearly a decade, children and young adults have benefited from SRNS education outreach programs whose primary goal is to stress the importance of science, technology, engineering and math. Those initiatives include the Traveling Science Demonstration Program, Science & Technology Enrichment Program, Introduce a Girl to Engineering and various workshops, tours, lectures and demonstrations. The company also has several programs that are based on learning through competition. They include the CSRA Science Fair, DOE Savannah River Regional Science Bowl and the Future City Competition. SRNS also annually offers a “mini grant” program to provide financial assistance to area teachers through corporate funding to help implement their innovative ideas. During this past school year, grants for more than 150 teachers, totaling $75,000, were awarded. SRNS helped develop the curriculum for a new certificate program at Aiken Technical College that prepares students for entry-level positions in the nuclear industry.  In addition SRNS supported the program with a donation of $10,000 to help students offset the cost of enrollment.

*Business size definition: Small Employer: Less than 200 SC employees; Medium Employer: 200 to 999 SC employees; Large Employer: 1000+ SC employees.


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