Berkeley Means Business

Berkeley County Economic Development (BCED) is actively engaged in supporting the Berkeley County Industry Community for impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

BCED, in coordination with SC Department of Commerce, Berkeley County Government, and other local and state agencies, is committed to closely monitoring developments and is available via email at  webecd@berkeleycountysc.gov to answer non-medical questions related to business and industry support.

Berkeley County Economic Development offices might be physically closed, but we are still doing business and ready to serve you. Please feel free to reach out to a staff member directly, via phone or email. We are here to help and support our Berkeley County Industry Family.

Get Connected with Other Berkeley County Industries

Information you can trust is essential during an emergency, natural disaster, or public health crisis. Berkeley County Economic Development would like to ensure our industries are getting the most accurate information. To do this we have put together a new program (Berkeley Industry Interconnect or BI2) that will allow all of our companies and our supportive government offices to communicate directly on a real time, digital platform. This is similar to a “blog page” allowing for our industries to ask questions and converse at large with the whole group or allow for direct messaging between members. This private platform is by invitation only and is limited to the number of representatives per industry. Please contact kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov to see if your organization qualifies to participate in BI2.


COVID-19 Updates from Berkeley County Government

All Berkeley County updates will be posted on the Berkeley County website under Coronavirus COVID-19 latest. Related updates are also available on the County’s Facebook and Twitter. Berkeley County Government has also launched a new email service for users to subscribe to automated email updates. Visit https://berkeleycountysc.gov/ to sign up via the pop-up notice.


COVID-19 Business Resource Center from S.C. Commerce

While the full impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, S.C. Commerce wants to assure the business community that Team South Carolina is here to assist throughout this unprecedented event. In an effort to provide guidance and much-needed tools for our industry, S.C. Commerce has launched the online COVID-19 Business Resource Center

SC Commerce, through Emergency Support Function (ESF) 24, is closely monitoring developments and is available via email at ESF24@emd.sc.gov to answer non-medical questions related to business and industry support. 


Charleston Metro Chamber Resource Guide

Our friends at the Charleston Metro Chamber have composed a Business Resource Guide with updates and best practices shared by their member companies, a series of webinars, and tips for your business to prepare for short term and long term recovery.

SCMEP Resource Center

The team at SCMEP and the MEP National Network have compiled a list of valuable resources in helping your company navigate these challenging times. As they receive new information, they will update this resource page. SCMEP is committed to doing whatever it takes to help the manufacturing community stay strong.

Financial Resources

BCDCOG Revolving Loan Fund (RFL)

The primary purpose of the RLF is to aid in the creation and retention of jobs in the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester region. Read more the program and email BCDCOG Finance Manager Katie Paschall before submitting an application.

Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Governor Henry McMaster’s request for the agency to offer South Carolina’s small businesses with disaster assistance. The disaster declaration means that small businesses in South Carolina that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 virus may qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans. Apply online. 

Additional Resources

The Post & Courier COVID-19 Coverage

FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control 

Restore Your Economy

The following are credible sources to stay up to date on COVID-19:

Tri-County STEMersion Connects Industry to Educators

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – (Tuesday, January 28, 2020) Berkeley County Economic Development, along with partners at Charleston County and Dorchester County Economic Development and South Carolina Department of Commerce announce 3rd annual Tri-County STEMersion program to connect educators with industries throughout the region.  

            What: Tri-County STEMersion 2020

When: Deadline for educators to register is Feb. 29, 2020. Program will run June 8 – 11 & 15-18, 2020

Tri-County STEMersion 2020 is a two-week, unique hands-on institute for up to 40 middle and high school instructors in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties in South Carolina. STEMersion ties the world of work to classroom lessons through the inclusion of competencies of local industries, increased knowledge of careers as well as an emphasis on the skill needs of industry.

During the institute, educators visit one or two sites per day and will be introduced to local companies’ work environments including the practical use of formulas, theories and/or concepts necessary for a successful work process. Educators will also participate in real-world workplace (hands-on) learning opportunities and lesson writing activities that reinforce why math, science and soft skills are so critical to the Tri-County region’s workforce and economic growth.

Local educators will receive information to share with fellow educators and parents. In addition, educators will participate in activities and conversations that facilitate the development of a pipeline of future employees to meet industry needs. The institute in not about finding a job but stirring the expertise of classroom educators such that sparks are created and students identify and prepare for their next careers.

Finally, the institute creates a path for a regional grassroots career awareness campaign in which local industries are introduced to additional educators, parents, and students after STEMersion concludes.

Educators wishing to apply:  STEMersion provides up to a $1000 stipend (based on completed assignments and budget allocations) for local educators who complete the work-based learning experiences at local industry sites, create lesson plans based on the experiences and agree to integrate the new knowledge into classroom lessons and presentations. Follow-up sessions with local industry leaders will also be facilitated through the institute. The follow-up sessions will include posts on tricountystemersion.com, STEMersion breakfast, virtual and face-to-face networking sessions, classroom visits and the annual STEMersion celebration. Seats are limited, registration for educators to apply will close February 29, 2020. An acceptance letter for applications will be sent no later than May 1, 2020. Click here for registration form.

Industries or employers wishing to invest or host educators: Industry visits include hands-on projects, explanation of skill needs at each step of the work process and/or a descriptive review of the work process to help educators identify topics in their subject area that connect to the work of local industries. Educators will also outline lesson plans based on the industry experience while on-site with the assistance of the industry professionals.

Hosting industries will Accommodate educators on-site for a half or full day session with space to use to create lesson outlines based on the visit and assistance provided by industry professionals to help educators align the world of work experience to the classroom.

• Include a 30/45-minute tour or detailed discussion of work flow process.

• Provide employee presentations and hands-on experiences.

• Offer lunch with candid workforce/talent development conversations.

• Reinforce the skills needed for the industries’ workplace.

• Participate in STEMersion follow-up sessions with educators and STEMersion planning team.

For more information about investing or hosting educators, contact Kristen Lanier, Workforce Development Manager, at kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov or 843-719-4301.

HIRING? Let us help!
Two Events – Two Audiences – One Fantastic Opportunity to Recruit

Berkeley County Economic Development, Berkeley County School District, Service Member & Family Care (SMFC) and SC Works Trident would like to invite you to participate in a Berkeley County Career & Resource Fair.

WHEN:Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

WHERE: Moncks Corner National Guard Armory
320 Airport Drive, Moncks Corner.

WHAT: We will have two sessions:
Session I: 10 am till 12 pm for high school seniors (soon to be graduates)

12 pm till 1 pm – lunch for vendors

Session II: – 1 pm till 3 pm for the general public
If interested, please complete and email to Stanley Cox at StanleyCoxOPE@gmail.com as soon as possible.

For employers to attend the event, you “MUST” be hiring. Part of the process for this event is that all employers must be registered in our state database. There is no fee to register and the positions you are hoping to fill will be posted on their website. If not registered, please email SC Works at scworkstrident@dew.sc.gov.

There is no cost to reserve a table for this event. Lunch will be provided between the sessions.

We only have room for 40 vendors so get your registration form in as soon as possible!!

Registration forms must be received by close of business; Friday, March 20, 2020 to participate.
PART 1: Graduating High School Seniors
Selected High School Students will be bused in from Berkeley County High Schools to attend this special job fair from 10 am to 12 pm. These students, mostly graduating seniors, have shown an interest in entering the workforce after graduation and are looking to connect with local employers for full time employment opportunities.
Part 2: Open to the Public
Please stay for part 2 of the job fair as we open the doors to the public from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Presented in Partnership by:

(Thursday, January 16, 2020) Berkeley County will host an information meeting to provide training for manufacturing positions on Thursday, January 30, 2020. The meeting will be held at Cainhoy Elementary School. It is open to Berkeley County residents looking for manufacturing jobs.

            When: Thursday, January 30, 6 p.m.

            Where: Cainhoy Elementary School, 2434 Cainhoy Rd. Huger, SC 29450

            Why: Help connect Berkeley County residents with the necessary training for manufacturing positions

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign-up for the upcoming ManuFirstSCTM, formerly known as Lean Manufacturing, course that will begin on Saturday, March 14, on the Cainhoy Elementary School Campus. This 3-week course, concluding on April 2, will provide the necessary training to qualify candidates for positions at industries around Berkeley County and throughout the state of South Carolina. Graduates of the program will have an opportunity to connect with local employers and community partners.

The course is free for candidates who are Berkeley County residents who meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be able to legally work in the United States
  • provide documentation of Berkeley County residency
  • have a high school diploma or GED
  • provide proof of a Bronze WIN/WorkKeys score
  • pass a SC SLED background check (paid for by the scholarship)
  • pass a basic panel drug screen (paid for by the scholarship)

All applications must be submitted to Berkeley County Economic Development, via email to kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov or turned into the Supervisor’s office at 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner, on or before 5 pm on Feb. 21, 2020.


About ManuFirstSCTM – Berkeley County worked in partnership with Trident Technical College, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Volvo Cars, and Ready SC to pilot the program in June of 2017. More than 150 people graduated from the Lean Manufacturing course, which put them on the path to employment opportunities at Volvo Cars in Ridgeville. Since then, neighboring counties have emulated the training program to provide opportunities for residents around the state with more than 900 graduates in the Tri-County area, including 350 Berkeley County residents. SC Department of Commerce has re-branded the program to ManuFirstSCTM and has begun to roll it out across the state’s technical college system by industry demand.


In the News! Check out a recent article in the Post and Courier about ManuFirst:

SC manufacturers’ training program has participants changing careers and lives

Winnie Harley, a process technician at Volvo Cars, times the manufacturing process to look for improvements at the automaker’s manufacturing plant near Ridgeville. Harley has held numerous jobs over the years but said she’s found a home at Volvo. Gavin McIntyre/Staff
[Nov 15, 2019] Berkeley County was honored to celebrate the 21 graduates from the ManuFirst program in Cross yesterday evening.

The County worked with Berkeley County School DistrictTrident Technical College, and others to celebrate these individuals’ success in the program. The 21 County residents received certificates for completing the three-week, entry-level manufacturing training course. The course consists of 62 hours of general manufacturing skills and safety training for manufacturing positions. Additionally, an OSHA certificate was provided through the program.

Following the ceremony, there was an employer meet-and-greet, arranged by S.C. Works. Several businesses and agencies participated, including Grand Forest, ReadySC, Sanders Brothers, and Thorne Research.

The ManuFirst course provides the necessary training to qualify candidates for positions at industries around Berkeley County and throughout the state of South Carolina. It is free for candidates who are Berkeley County residents.

Additionally, the course is a collaborative effort among Trident Technical College, Berkeley County Economic Development, Adult Education with Berkeley County School District, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

This is only the second time the Berkeley County ManuFirst S.C. program has been offered outside of the Trident Technical Campus. Berkeley County Economic Development worked hand-in-hand with the Berkeley County School District to bring the program into the community.

#OneBerkeley #BerkeleyCounty

[November 14, 2019] According to the Post and Courier, Berkeley County ranked 8th in the Nation for attracting new talent.

“A new report that measures counties’ attractiveness to new talent placed Berkeley County eighth among the nation’s top-ranking counties. The rankings were released this week by Emsi, an economic analysis firm, for its fourth annual Talent Attraction Scorecard

The scorecard included large, small and micro (populations of 5,000 or less) counties across the U.S. A few main trends emerged:

  • Southern counties “rising in the ranks”
  • Western cities “punching above their weight”
  • Sunbelt states — the southeast to the southwest — “thriving”

Berkeley County has been moving up in the ranks in Emsi’s report, starting at No. 85 in 2017, then No. 41 last year. Of all the counties in this year’s top 10, it made the biggest jumps in the last three years. 

The county has been growing rapidly, and has seen success in recent years in attracting major investments from employers. In 2018, Berkeley County scored three of South Carolina’s top economic development announcements

A $600 million expansion of Google Inc.’s Moncks Corner data center was the year’s biggest announcement by value, per the state’s Commerce Department. A $255 million expansion of J.W. Aluminum’s Goose Creek campus ranked fourth in the state for value, and welding and fabrication firm W International‘s plans to hire 600 new workers ranked third for job creation. 

The county’s current unemployment rate is just 1.6 percent, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. That’s compared to 1.8 percent for South Carolina and 3.3 percent nationwide. Over the last year, job openings recorded by the department have hovered around 1,000 each month.

The top-ranking large county in Emsi’s report was Duval, in the heart of the Jacksonville metro area. According to the report, the largest industries there are hospitals and restaurants, but the addition of Amazon and Wayfair distribution centers over the last two years boosted the economy. 

Other high-ranking counties were in the PhoenixLas Vegas and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas. 

Here’s how the top-ranking large South Carolina counties (those with populations of 100,000 or more) stacked up:

  • No. 8: Berkeley County
  • No. 46: York County
  • No. 48: Horry County
  • No. 72: Greenville County
  • No. 82: Charleston County
  • No. 93: Spartanburg County

Among small South Carolina counties, Lancaster County ranked the highest (No. 25), followed by Jasper (No. 34) and Chester (No. 136). 

Counties were ranked based on six metrics: net migration, overall job growth, skilled job growth, educational attainment, regional competitiveness and annual job openings per capita. ” – Post and Courier

[November 7, 2019] – Welcome to Berkeley County, Curtiss-Wright. The company celebrated its Grand Opening and Commissioning Event on Thursday. The 135,000-square-foot facility is located inside the Charleston Trade Center off Interstate I-26 in Summerville.

The Steam and Air Solutions company is a $55 million investment in the County that is expected to create at least 80 jobs. And, not just any kind of job. They will be good quality and high-paying ones with salaries between $29 and $42/hour.

“We will keep fighting for businesses in our state; we will lower our taxes and continue to create a workforce that you will be glad to have going into the 21st century.” ~Lt. Governor Pamela Evette

Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb broke down the numbers and explained exactly how Curtiss-Wright’s investment will benefit the taxpayer.

“For Berkeley County, it’s been said that for every $20 million investment— that’s the tax base for about 450-500 homes. This is a $55 million investment; that’s a lot of homes that you would have to have to create that type of tax revenue. So what does that mean? What do we do with that money? If we collect a half-million dollars a year in taxes between the school district and the County, for this one parcel of land, that’s five school teachers plus three sheriff’s deputies. And, I can change the terms out—the paramedics, the support staffs in schools—you name it. But, that’s how many people will be employed to serve not just your employees’ children (but also) the people who live here throughout the County. …These investments help us keep taxes low for our residents.”

~Supervisor Cribb

As part of the defense sector, the company’s manufacturing facility will contribute to the region’s shipbuilding industry.

“Berkeley County and the Lowcountry has always had a tie to the sea in support of our military. …The military presence remains strong and well in this region, and certainly Curtiss-Wright marched the return of these legacy industries in our region.” ~Supervisor Cribb

Operations at the facility are expected to start early next month and be fully staffed by April/May 2020.

Other local elected officials in attendance Thursday included Berkeley County Councilman Brandon Cox and S.C. Rep. Sylleste Davis

Curtiss-Wright is in the process of hiring. To apply, visit >> https://bit.ly/33tsbNj

[November 6, 2019] Welcome TemperaturePro to Moncks Corner, off U.S. 17A.

TemperaturePro is a HVAC franchise that offers heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services.

The company is run by a U.S. Navy veteran who was a machinist mate for nine years. He then worked at Nucor for 21 years before taking this opportunity to start TemperaturePro in Moncks Corner.

TemperaturePro has eight employees, three service vehicles, and a large box truck.

Welcome, TemperaturePro!

[Oct 30, 2019] “Communicate. Collaborate. Cooperate.”

That’s what Governor Henry McMaster said at the Salute to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon today to honor industries around South Carolina.

Two industries in Berkeley County were among the 20 statewide that were celebrated at the luncheon. Both JW Aluminum and W International received awards. JW Aluminum received The Carlisle Associates Smart Move SC Award for its expansion. W International received The Carlisle Associates Smart Move SC Award for its new plant.

JW Aluminum is located in Goose Creek and manufactures flat-rolled aluminum. They announced a $255 million expansion investment in 2018. This landed them in the state’s top economic investment announcements for the year.

W International moved into its new facility in Bushy Park earlier this year. The industry is a full-service manufacturer of metal fabrications for the aerospace, specialty commercial, defense sector, energy, and marine industries. They announced 600 new jobs and a $32.5 million investment in the County.

Berkeley County leadership was thrilled to honor and recognize these remarkable industries.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Investment creating 26 jobs

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sapience Automation, a full-service integrator of robot systems, is establishing operations in Berkeley County. The $500,000 investment is expected to create 26 new jobs. 

Focusing on the integration of industrial robots for manufacturers and supporting existing users of robots, Sapience Automation also works with automation, paint, system integration and various other operations. 

Located at 2079 Wambaw Creek Rd., Suite 5 in Charleston, S.C., Sapience Automation’s new facility will allow the company to grow current operations and increase collaboration with educational systems and local schools to help encourage and train students for jobs in the automation industry. To support workforce initiatives, the company launched a nonprofit to enrich mechatronics and robotics programs on the high school level and identify students who could excel in the area of automation. 

Operations are online, and continue to ramp up. Individuals interested in joining the Sapience Automation team should visit https://sapienceautomation.com/contact

QUOTES

“Sapience Automation has a lot of experience with advanced automotive and aerospace manufacturing systems but is also designed to work efficiently with smaller shops that may require less complex automation. That is one of our main focuses, and we’re excited to be in Berkeley County because we are surrounded by many customers in each category.” –Sapience Automation President and CEO Martin Rola

“The investment that Sapience Automation is making in our people and our state shows the world that our workforce and competitive business environment can lead to success for companies in every industry. We congratulate Sapience Automation on its decision to establish operations in Berkeley County, and look forward to watching the company continue to grow here for a long time.” –Gov. Henry McMaster

“We pride ourselves on the pro-business climate we’ve cultivated in South Carolina, and this announcement today is yet another testament to that environment. We celebrate Sapience Automation’s investment in our state and commend the company on its focus on training the next generation of automation professionals.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“We are thrilled that Sapience Automation has chosen to expand into Berkeley County. This announcement is continued proof that Berkeley County is a top choice for companies in the manufacturing industry to setup, or expand, their operations. We are also confident that Sapience will create high-quality, cutting-edge job opportunities for our local workforce.”—Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb

“Sapience Automation is a welcome new advanced industry asset for our region’s STEM-based economy. Advanced industries led the post-recession employment recovery and are America’s best opportunity to support innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth. Sapience Automation’s decision to locate in the Charleston region demonstrates that this market offers the competitive advantages innovative companies need to succeed, including a skilled, adaptable and enthusiastic workforce.” –Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chair John Hagerty

FIVE FAST FACTS

•    Sapience Automation is establishing operations in Berkeley County. 
•    The $500,000 investment is expected to create 26 new jobs.  
•    Sapience Automation specializes in robot system designing, optimizations and integration.
•    Located at 2079 Wambaw Creek Rd., Suite 5 in Charleston, S.C., Sapience Automation’s new facility will allow the company to grow current operations and increase collaboration with educational systems.
•    Individuals interested in joining the Sapience Automation team should visit https://sapienceautomation.com/contact.