CHARLESTON, SC—Unemployment rates are at record lows in South Carolina and across much of the nation. The SC Department of Employment and Workforce reported a jobless rate of just 3.4 percent in May – and unemployment is even lower in the Charleston area. While this is great news for the state, it also presents employers with challenges in recruiting and retaining quality talent.

These and other key business and public policy topics were on the agenda at Womble Bond Dickinson’s annual South Carolina Economic Development Summit. The event, organized and hosted by Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Stephanie Yarbrough, took place June 14.

Charleston CEO provided extensive coverage of the Summit. WBD Lobby’s John DeWorken tells Charleston CEO that workforce “is the No. 1 issue” facing South Carolina Employers.

“We are fully employed,” said Bridge Commercial Vice President Hagood Morrison II. “So how do we keep those folks?”

DeWorken said lawmakers are aware of the challenges and are working on solutions. For example, he said there is a bill in the General Assembly that would provide scholarships for students seeking diplomas or certifications in hard-to-fill careers.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Chief Information Officer Hank Jibaja said the biotech company has gotten creative in finding quality employees. For example, the company launched a program that allows teachers to work for the company on weekends.

“Today we have 650 teachers on our roster,” Jibaja told Charleston CEO.

Specific session topics at the Womble Bond Dickinson South Carolina Economic Development Summit included:

  • Real Estate in South Carolina—Growth, Forecast and Challenges . With CBRE Senior Vice President Robert Barrineau, Colliers Vice President Mark Erickson and Bridge Commercial Vice President Hagood Morrison II. Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Kevin Trempe moderated this session.
  • The Future of Work . With Volvo Corporate Communications Manager Stephanie Mangini and Blackbaud Director of Global Corporate Real Estate Otto Orr. Womble Bond Dickinson’s Stephanie Yarbrough moderated.
  • WBD Lobby—Inside the Statehouse . Stephanie Yarbrough moderated a discussion with WBD Lobby’s John DeWorken.
  • Life Sciences in the Lowcountry . With SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros, Nephron Pharmaceuticals CIO Hank Jibaja and Gateway Development Services President Mack Reese.
  • Boeing South Carolina—It’s Been 10 Years . With Mark Fava, Chief Counsel for Boeing’s South Carolina Site.
  • Balancing Culture and Scale . With Brad Little, Blackbaud’s Managing Director for Consumer Solutions US. Little also is the former Group Head of FMCG, Entertainment and Automotive, at Facebook.

Click here to read “Workforce is Hot Topic at South Carolina Economic Development Summit” in Charleston CEO.

Also, click here to read “Real Estate Experts Talk about Growth in South Carolina” in Charleston CEO.

SC summit

SC summit

SC summit