The statewide small business forums held by the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of commerce (SCSBCC) in 2000 identified workforce development and job creation as a top issues for small businesses. South Carolina did not have then and still lacks adequate numbers of well-trained, technically skilled workers for small businesses to grow and develop.
A Chronological Summary of Success
2002—The SCSBCC supported using lottery money for technical college tuition assistance to help produce the technically skilled workers small businesses need. The General Assembly did allocate $34 million of lottery money for this purpose. While this funding level was not sufficient to achieve the preferred free technical college tuition supported by the SCSBCC, the money did reduce tuition by approximately 50%.
2002—The SCSBCC took a leadership role in the newly formed South Carolina Registered Apprenticeship Roundtable. The mission of the Roundtable (which later became the Palmetto State Registered Apprenticeship Council) was to promote, develop and implement registered apprenticeship training opportunities in the state.
2004—The SCSBCC proposed to a House Rural Caucus that the job tax credits offered to big businesses to create a minimum of 10 new jobs should be offered to any qualifying business creating only one new job. Prior to 2005 state government was spending tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives every year to recruit big business and encourage them to add jobs in South Carolina while doing little or nothing for small business development.
2005—The SCSBCC effort succeeded when the SC General Assembly passed a bill that lowered eligibility for job tax credits in rural communities and also to targeted businesses that create only 2 net new jobs. This made this economic incentive available to small businesses for the first time. Also in 2005 the SCSBCC supported the successful passage of the Education and Economic Development Act. This Act was designed to create a seamless transition between K-12 and the world of employment, 2-year colleges or 4-year universities. In December 2015, the SCSBCC launched a campaign for the state to create a community-based economic development program similar to that of Georgia’s. In spite of legislation introduced over the years, South Carolina has not created the program.
2006—The SCSBCC was successful in getting additional changes to the job tax credits statute in order to make these credits easier for small businesses to use.
2007—The SCSBCC successfully championed adding money to the state budget to create a Registered Apprenticeship delivery system through the state’s Technical College System. To give an incentive to businesses (especially small businesses) to adopt a Registered Apprenticeship training program, the SCSBCC took the leadership role in pushing for a $1000 business tax credit per new Registered Apprentice. The Legislature passed this bill also.