BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Benefitfocus announced it's planning to expand the size of its technology campus on Daniel Island in Berkeley County from 13 acres to 40 acres.
During the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Governor Nikki Haley said growth in the area is noticed by the rest of the country and she highlighted the state has its lowest unemployment rate since 2008.
Haley said, "This signifies everything that we are doing in the state. We are on fire. We announced 650 jobs in Myrtle Beach yesterday, 500 jobs in Lancaster, now 1,200 jobs in Berkeley County."
Mayor Joe Riley spoke at the ceremony making his first public appearance since having hip surgery. Riley says the expansion of high tech companies like Benefitfocus will help keep workers in the Lowcountry.
"This is a more aggressive, creative, knowledge based community, economy in our country right now and Benefitfocus is leading the way," said Riley.
Benefitfocus creates internet technology letting companies manage employee health benefits online.
Company Co-founder/CEO Shawn Jenkins isn't only looking for designers and software engineers, but also project managers to bring in more customers to Benefitfocus.
Jenkins said, "We have 379 customers, large employers out of 18,000 in the United States. We have a long runway ahead of us. This is a fantastic business that we're in."
A statement released by Benefitfocus stated that the campus expansion will triple the size of the current Benefitfocus headquarters to nearly 500,000 square feet.
The expansion includes walking paths, cart paths, and trails which the company says will provide interconnectivity between the five buildings creating a "campus" style, community-friendly environment for Benefitfocus associates.
Officials say the additional space will allow for extensive recruitment and increase capacity for approximately 1,200 additional associates as the company continues to grow.
"We are creating a community within a community, and it's exciting to see this expanded technology campus come to life," said Jenkins, "We are committed to the Charleston community and to our Daniel Island neighbors especially. Our passion for design and engineering is such a powerful part of what makes Benefitfocus great, and we believe the new campus will add to the vitality of the region as we continue to attract world-class engineering talent."
"Benefitfocus is an excellent example of innovation in our state," said Governor Haley, "Today's announcement highlights the entrepreneurial spirit that keeps South Carolina leading the way for the technology industry on the East Coast. We celebrate their continued investment in South Carolina and the creation of 1,200 new jobs."
"While we work to recruit business investment from all industries to the state, we are putting special emphasis on growing our innovation infrastructure," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Companies like Benefitfocus, in announcing 1,200 new jobs, demonstrate how high-tech, high-growth businesses can be successful in our state."
Benefitfocus was founded in 2000 in a single office in Mount Pleasant and moved to Daniel Island in 2006. The company provides software that helps companies manage benefits for workers.