RELEASE: James Smith would help South Carolinians find, and be ready for, knowledge economy jobs

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As we’ve mentioned before, more South Carolinians than ever have given up on even finding work.  In the short time Henry McMaster has South Carolina’s labor participation rate has dropped from eighth worst in the country to being tied for third place.

There are plenty of jobs out there, but too few South Carolinians are qualified for them.  As James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell have campaigned in all 46 counties over the past year, they’ve heard it over and over again – our citizens are not as prepared as they should be for the jobs of today – or tomorrow.

Our schools and technical colleges need to do more to address that disconnect, and James and Mandy would work to make that happen as governor and lieutenant governor.

There are other problems in our state government’s current approaches to economic development.  For instance, “All our incentives are aimed at luring manufacturing,” says James. “That was fine in the last century. But those jobs are going away, and our policies need to be focused on the future.”

We need to focus on creating jobs in the knowledge economy – the kind that encourage our best and brightest young people to stay right here, working at high-paying, rewarding jobs and helping build up their local communities and the entire state.

James Smith has already been hard at work on that.  He was a big reason why the Paris-based multinational tech consulting firm Capgemini recently expanded at Columbia’s Bull Street development, bringing 200 high-paying jobs to that new live-word-play redevelopment.

Part of that development depends on the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act, which Smith sponsored.  McMaster this year vetoed the reauthorization of that pro-growth bill, but the GOP-led Legislature easily overrode him – because forward looking members of both parties know how helpful that law has been to our communities.

But he did far more than that.  He got all the right people together, and eventually Capgemini saw that Columbia was a community poised to be the kind of work-study-play community that entices the highly-qualified workers of the future.

Smith did that as a House member, but also as a person who cares about his communities.  He will accomplish things like that on a statewide scale as governor.

With James and Mandy as governor and lieutenant governor, workers won’t be giving up on finding jobs at an accelerating rate, as they are under McMaster.  They’ll find, and be prepared for the kind of jobs that will build a better future for all of us.