On January 9th, 20-year old Terry Johnson, who is single with no children, visited the Georgetown SCWorks American Job Center, operated by KRA Corporation, to learn more about the employment and training services offered there. Terry, a 2011 High School graduate, discovered that he was eligible for the KRA/SCWorks In-School/Out-of-School Youth (ISY/OSY) Program. Since graduation, Terry had held a few jobs—Cook for Mcdonald’s, Customer Service Representative for People’s Helper, etc,—but nothing had “clicked” for him.
After OSY Intake and Orientation, Jeff Ward, KRA Business Services Representative (BSR), kicked off the development of Terry’s Individual Employment Plan (IEP) with a TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) assessment of his math and reading skill levels. According to Ward, “Terry is a smart guy, and scored well on the TABE. However, it was evident that he could benefit from our Workplace-readiness Workshops, so we included targeted classes in his IEP.”
For several months, Terry attended Career Counseling, Resume Development, Job-Search Skills and Techniques, Dress for Success, and Interviewing Skills classes to better prepare himself for job opportunities when they were presented…as one was! In an effort to fill an open position, Mauretta Dorsey, Town Administrator, The Town of Andrews , reached out to the BSR at the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, who in turn contacted Ward.
He met with Dorsey, discussed with her the employer services—particularly the OSY-Paid Work Experience Contract (WEC) Program—available through the KRA/SCWorks. Ward presented Dorsey with 10 resumes of candidates qualified for the opening, and Terry was the only one chosen for an interview!
On September 30th, Terry began a 90-hour WEC assignment with The Town of Andrews, collecting and processing payments for electric, water, and sewer utility bills. Terry completed the WEC on October 31th, and on November 7th, was hired as a part-time, but permanent, Office Helper. When contacted for comment, Ward responded, “It just so happens, Terry stopped in today to report that he is very happy with the job, and that his goal to be hired fulltime with benefits in the very near future. I have no doubt that this will happen for him as he is very motivated to succeed and to excel.”
When asked if this was the end of the KRA/SCWorks relationship with Terry, Ward stated, “By no means. He’s only been on the job a week, so after he settles in a bit, he could consider applying for a WIA Individual Training Account to offset the cost of attending one of the many WIA-approved community colleges or trade schools in the Waccamaw area. He is very computer-savvy and might want to consider furthering his education in Computer Science or other professional services area. He’s only 20, with a lifetime of opportunities ahead of him! We’ll stay in touch and see what develops.” Funded by the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, this WIA program encompasses a tri-county area and provides comprehensive workforce services for Regional jobseeker-and employer-customers. Adhering to a sector-driven strategy that targets service businesses in high-growth industries, SCWorks provides recruitment, screening, referral, follow-up, and retention services tailored to the needs of private- and public-sector employers in the Region. WIA services support Adult/Dislocated Workers in need of training and/or job placement opportunities. Through interest, aptitude, and personality assessments; skills upgrading through Occupational Skills Training and OJTs; career coaching, counseling, and guidance; instructional job-search technique workshops; job referral, placement and retention services; and referrals to community partnering agencies. The ISY/OSY component of the operation provides a comprehensive year-round program for disadvantaged youth facing significant barriers to employment. Workplace-readiness services include intensive career counseling; interest, math, and reading assessments; GED preparation; job application and interviewing skills; and Paid WEC opportunities.  According to The Town of Andrews’ website: “When one thinks of Andrews, they often think of the Black River and all the amenities it offers the town’s citizenry. Andrews is a small rural agrarian South Carolina town whose main focus is on family, friends, and church. Don’t come to Andrews looking for the night-life of bars, movie theaters, and entertainment. In Andrews, a community oriented town, family comes first, everything else comes after. Yes, there is fun and frolic, but somewhat different than larger cities. There are gatherings at the river, or at someone’s home, outdoor sports for all ages, or events at church. It is enjoying a more stress-free environment with a ‘laid back atmosphere’ where both children and adults enjoy the amenities of living in this unique section of South Carolina. There is the Black River with great ‘swimming holes’, boating, and fishing. Avid hunters especially enjoy the area with its abundance of wildlife. With the close proximity of coastal South Carolina and its beaches, Georgetown, Lake Moultrie, and historic Charleston, one can enjoy the amenities offered by larger cities; yet, still maintain a more community oriented lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of city-life.