Charleston Metro area sees second highest job growth in nation, 2022 data shows
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - New numbers this month show employment in the Charleston and North Charleston metro area saw a 6.6% increase last year. That’s the second highest in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It really goes to show that our region is thriving,” said Celeste Granger, VP of Talent Development at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Despite fears of a recession, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce projects nearly 36,000 new jobs by the end of 2026.
The chamber is piloting a grant from the federal government aimed at getting historically marginalized communities into higher paying roles in the healthcare industry. It’s something that the organization hopes can translate to other industries, including technical ones.
“We were so used to saying, you know, for so long that there needed to be a four-year degree,” Granger said. “There doesn’t necessarily need to be that.”
At Trident Technical College’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program, students are learning skills they will use on the job in local Charleston businesses.
“There’s definitely high demand in our area,” program director David Provenzano said.
This semester, the college has about 200 students enrolled in HVAC courses. Tuition is free through 2024.
“You can carry the HVAC trade to a lot of different levels,” Provenzano said.
He says increasing awareness of the underlying skill set is important for addressing today’s worker shortage.
“It’s got a lot of variables and being able to troubleshoot it and resolve the problem is satisfying,” Provenzano said.
Granger said that mentality applies to any industry.
“Because you might be able to find workers that you traditionally hadn’t thought about,” Granger said.
Back in the field, Benware said there’s no quick fix to the trade worker shortage.
He said his industry must focus on getting young people the message that a trade job can be fulfilling.
“You can make as much money as you want to make if you have the effort and the willingness and the desire to learn and the passion to move forward,” Benware said.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.