Set aside funds allow SCWorks Union office to reopen

Charles Warner Editor

October 6, 2013

UNION — Some funds set aside by the state enabled the SCWorks Union office to reopen one day after it was closed because of the shutdown of the federal government.

The SCWorks offices are federally funded and the shutdown of the federal government resulted in three of the four offices serving Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union counties being closed Wednesday morning. The Gaffney and Union offices were closed as was the Spartanburg office on Kennedy Street. The Spartanburg office on South Church was the only office in the Upstate to remain open.

The closings resulted in 16 SCWorks employees being furloughed until the shutdown is over.

The shutdown continues, but the SCWorks offices closed Wednesday reopened Thursday after being notified that the state had the funds to allow them to resume operations.

Johnnie-Lynn Crosby, Regional Business Services Manager for SCWorks Upstate, announced Friday that “all local workforce investment areas received information from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce stating that funds were set aside and are available.” Crosby said this enabled the Gaffney, Spartanburg and Union offices to reopen on Thursday “with limited staff. These funds should allow the centers to remain open. All centers are currently open and fully functional.”

Anne Angermeier, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board, said that the funding to reopen the offices comes from the federal Rapid Response Program. The funds are allocate to the state by the federal government for use in certain situations. Angermeier said that to her knowledge this is the first time the funds have been used to return furloughed employees work. She said the state secured the authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor to use the funds to help reopen the SCWorks in South Carolina.

Crosby said that of the 16 employees furloughed Wednesday, nine have returned to work at the local centers including Union.

Located at 103 W. Main St., the SCWorks office provides employers with space for job fairs and hiring events. The closing of the office forced the cancellation of a recruiting event sponsored by Staffmark on behalf of the Belk Fulfillment Center in Jonesville which had been scheduled for Friday. It also threatened to force the relocation of the recuiting event sponsored by Wade’s Employment Agency on behalf of the Gestamp Automocion South Carolina LLC manufacturing plant in Bonham scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Crosby said Friday that the recruiting event sponsored by Wade’s will go on as planned at the SCWorks office on Tuesday while the Staffmark recruiting event will be held Friday, Oct. 11.

The shutdown also could have potentially affected “How To Start A Small Business” a workshop sponsored by the Winthrop University SCBDC and the Union Chamber of Commerce. Crosby, however, said the workshop remains remains scheduled to be held at the Union on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The workshop will provide participants with information regarding how to create and successfully operate a small business.

Persons interested in registering for this workshop, should contact the Union County Chamber of Commerce at 864-427-9039 by Monday, Oct. 7. A registration fee of $10 for chamber members and $15 for non-members will be charged. The fee will cover the cost of the lunch that will be served during the program.

If you are in need of job search assistance or have an interest in upgrading your skills, please visit SC Works Union at 103 W. Main St., Union.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.