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Be Pro Be Proud SC is unlike anything South Carolina has experienced, and on Thursday September 3, 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster and public and private leaders unveiled the impressive 53-foot, double-expandable, 18-wheel window to the future.

Kicking off its statewide tour this fall, the mission of Be Pro Be Proud SC is to showcase skilled-profession careers abundantly found in South Carolina through hands-on, interactive stations representing on-the-job experiences. The movement aims to bring a new generation of pride and professionals to the state’s skilled workforce, specifically among the student populations who are weighing their options after graduation.

Students will learn that many of these skilled jobs are not only high-paying, but in demand, have long-term career prospects and are only a fraction of the cost of a 4-year degree.

“The Be Pro Be Proud SC initiative motivates and arms hardworking South Carolinians with knowledge of lucrative employment opportunities,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This initiative not only creates a stronger, more skilled workforce, but builds pathways for South Carolinians to achieve their very own American dream,” says South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

Inside, visitors will experience hands-on module simulators for forklift operation, commercial driving, utility bucket operation, diesel technology, heavy equipment operation, welding, carpentry and construction technology, and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine operation. In addition to the hands on simulations, visitors will walk away with training resources and what it takes to start a skilled professional career. The 2020-2021 tour will cover the state visiting schools, fairs, career centers, conventions and government events.

“Now more than ever, finding meaningful work that can withstand economic downfall, including a pandemic, is critical for many South Carolina families. The jobs built into this interactive experience are important to the state’s economy and provide exposure to skilled-based careers that students may not have considered.

Understanding the salaries, benefits and long-term stability tied to these essential functions will help individuals evaluate their career options,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director, Dan Ellzey.

Due to an aging workforce in skilled-labor careers, it is estimated that 2 million jobs will be left unfilled by 2025, creating a massive demand that needs to be addressed. And while the Be Pro Be Proud SC was planned long before the pandemic began, COVID-19 has significantly increased the demand on “essential” fields like transportation and logistics, utilities, construction, and diesel technology. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor, the number of jobs available in these sectors are projected to increase by as much as 25% over the next decade in South Carolina.

“Essential industries like the kind that build, grow, make, and move things have relied on skilled professionals since the dawn of commerce,” says Rick Todd, President and CEO of the South Carolina Trucking Association. “We are proud to take this experiential show on the road so curious folks can see and learn about the career opportunities in these accessible, much-needed industry sectors. It’s an innovative public-private partnership that’s been years in the making, but one that will help accelerate the move from school to a good job and meaningful career.”

The idea for this mobile workshop comes from the state of Arkansas where Be Pro Be Proud was created in 2016. More than 98,000 individuals participated in the 540-stop tour that spanned 285 cities. South Carolina became the first state to partner with Arkansas to launch a mobile workshop and workforce development project like this.

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