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DEW Expands Rural Initiative
The Workforce Agency announces an expansion of its Connection Point Grant program.
Columbia, S.C. – In 2019, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) formalized its Rural Initiative. At that time, the purpose of the Rural Initiative was to improve public awareness and accessibility of the agency’s reemployment programs in areas where disadvantaged populations reside. The rural counties listed to the right are ranked as having the highest rates of unemployment in the state and are considered priority counties for our agency to work closely with.
“Our work in these counties have shown us how workers in rural areas face greater barriers to reemployment than their urban counterparts, which was a call to action for our agency,” stated S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey. “Our agency has developed programs that offer personalized services for reemployment as we work with local businesses that are hiring. Our mission is to reduce the number of claimants in these rural counties, increase job retention in the areas, and help the local job markets prosper for years to come.”
Our most recent Rural Initiative involves an expansion to our Connection Point Grant. Today, the agency has 172 Connection Points across the state, which serve as secondary meeting places for jobseekers requiring help from SC Works. The agency is now offering grants to nonprofits that include up to $25,000 to establish a computer lab at their location to assist job applicants in seeking work or unemployment benefits.
A Connection Point is a computer lab located in a library, faith-based organization, or nonprofit that connects the public to our agency’s website, MyBenefits claimant portal, and SC Works Online Services. Each Connection Point has computers, educational materials, and a worker at the location trained to offer technical services to anyone needing to file for unemployment or conduct a work search. The purpose of these Connection Points is to provide direct access to DEW and SC Works services to individuals who are not located near one of our 44 SC Works Centers, which is often the case for our most rural counties.
The application cycle for the Connection Point Expansion Grant remains open and we are pleased to announce that grants have already been awarded to four nonprofit organizations in the first funding cycle. The four grant recipients are A Father's Place located in Conway; A Second Chance Resource Center Network United, Inc. located in North Charleston; Midlands Fatherhood Coalition located in Columbia; and United Way of Horry County, Inc. located in Myrtle Beach.
Visit dew.sc.gov/connectionpoints or scworks.org/connection-points to learn how to apply for the grant, view presentation slides from a past Information Session, and a Questions & Answers fact sheet. Please email any grant questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Connection Point program is only one of many programs in the DEW Rural Initiative. Some of the other programs include the following:
Members of the press can contact email@example.com with any interview requests or inquiries.