Eckerd Connects and Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Awarded Workforce Innovation Grant

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Eckerd Connects, the operator of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act services in the Trident Workforce Development Region, and the Charleston Metro Chamber have been awarded a Workforce Innovation Grant worth $381,731.

The funds will be used to develop and implement an employer-driven career pathways model that is scalable, replicable and flexible enough to respond to the specific needs of industry partners. The program will target the Trident Region’s high-impact, high-growth sector of construction and will serve 48 youth with barriers (out-of-school youth), including young adults who have dropped out of high school and foster care youth.

“This grant initiative is an exciting opportunity to develop and deploy an employer-driven training model that prepares young adults for a career in construction,” said Amanda Wagner, Operations Director for Eckerd Connects. “Both Eckerd and the Charleston Metro Chamber are laser focused on creating a training model that is relevant to the specific needs of our local employers. We take great responsibility in developing talent in this region and we’re hopeful that the success of this training model can be replicated across industry sectors in the future.”

The collaboration will have three primary pillars of work that include convening the resources of these companies to identify current and future workforce needs, fund the second annual Build a Shed competition and an employer match for work experience after the Build a Shed competition concludes.

“We are thrilled to partner with Eckerd and support youth with barriers in our region,” said Bryan Derreberry, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “This will be a valuable asset for our construction members as they are searching for employees to fill their high-demand jobs. We will work in partnership to encourage these students and provide them with the avenues and resources necessary to fill those jobs.”

The Innovation Grant opportunity combines the Charleston Metro Chamber, with their valued membership, and Eckerd, with their successful workforce development initiatives, to help these students find lucrative careers and to build awareness among a viable pool of potential employees trained within the industry-specific alternatives offered through Eckerd.