Message from Secretary Hitt: S.C.'s 2019 accomplishments

In reflecting on 2019, I'm reminded of the accomplishments Team S.C. has made in not only recruiting new industry, but also in working to ensure existing companies continue to grow and that our state's workforce remains on the cutting edge. This past year proved particularly successful with our business services, innovation and rural initiatives.

Through our collaboration with the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, more than 250 site visits - to small and medium-size manufacturing operations - were conducted. As a result, over 325 jobs were created and nearly 2,000 jobs were retained. Along with new and retained sales, cost savings and investment, the total economic impact was more than $585 million. These visits are in line with our mission of providing opportunities and are critical to ensuring the prosperity of our existing industry in all corners of the state.

In that same vein, since 2011, Team S.C. has recruited $5.9 billion in capital investment and 28,000 new jobs to our rural counties. And, we are looking for ways to do more, as 20% of our state's population resides in these smaller communities. S.C Commerce has taken to task, and our team is already on the ground in five counties, working with community leaders, economic developers, state officials and others to create programs that will enable these rural communities to be strategic and consistently competitive.

Recognizing that developing talent plays a pivotal role in our mission, S.C. Commerce's Office of Innovation, in collaboration with Build Carolina, officially launched SC Codes this past spring. This first-of-its-kind, state-funded resource provides free online coding curriculum for all South Carolinians. The program has already gained tremendous traction, with more than 5,300 residents utilizing the platform. And, earlier this week, Team S.C. announced SC Codes is expanding to include more course content and host sites.

From providing strategic guidance for existing industry to identifying opportunities for sustainable rural growth to ensuring our workforce is prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, there is one common theme in our approach. Team S.C. is working together to fulfill our mission of providing opportunities, and it is making an impact.