SCDEW launches ‘Lifeboat Jobs’ program aimed at helping unemployed workers

Many bars and restaurants are not hiring bartenders due to cuts in hours of operations to...
Many bars and restaurants are not hiring bartenders due to cuts in hours of operations to comply with executive orders and less business due to social distancing.(WMBF News)
Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce launched a new program Wednesday aimed at helping residents find jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These “Lifeboat Jobs” are focused on those lost their jobs in industries not rehiring.

“Things are improving but I think folks need to understand it’s not where it was before,” said Brian Nottingham, Director of Labor Market Information with SCDEW.

According to Nottingham, unemployment in South Carolina skyrocketed in April, mirroring the rest of the nation as industries faced shutdowns and individuals faced job losses.

While much of the economy is beginning to reopen, Nottingham said there are industries where employers still aren’t hiring so some people still aren’t receiving paychecks.

“We’ve got folks that are perhaps getting close to exhausting their unemployment benefits,” Nottingham said.

But now the department is aimed at getting people who previously worked in jobs impacted by the pandemic, to transfer their skills over to jobs hiring now.

Nottingham said SCDEW took a look at 29 jobs across the state and matched skills they have in common with other jobs and figured out what skills were needed for jobs hiring now.

He said they could go back to their old industry, such as support for tourism and accommodations, when the job is hiring or into a new job with their new skills and experience.

“We wanted to look at occupations folks could land into, that’s why we call them a lifeboat job,” Nottingham said, “That lifeboat job might just be something to get them through until conditions improve and they can go back to their job as a bartender or whatever they did before.”

Nottingham said jobs like custodians and other janitorial staff are in high demand due to heightened cleaning protocols. He added someone who previously worked as a hotel maid could transition into that role before moving on in their career to a job using the same skills.

SCDEW offices are open but the department said you can also access services online.

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