Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Little Guy Push's back: who's really to blame for the high unemployment and lack of economic development?

The Governor and his cronies, ever out of touch with the citizens of South Carolina, are mounting an effort to blame anyone and everyone for the economic woes of the state except for themselves. To accomplish this they have enlisted their sometimes, but always sloppy, mouthpiece FITSNews to 'shovel the shit' as they say.

But the little guy is pushing back. Where the governor and at least one, politically aspirant?, crony wish to blame the troubles of this state on the SCESC for the high numbers of unemployed South Carolinians, others are opening their eyes and saying no: that's not right.

And for once in South Carolina politics this isn't a partisan issue. There's no divide with the Governor and the Republican party on one side and the Democratic Party on the other. Folks on both sides of the aisle are waking up and realizing - these recriminations and distractions have to stop. People of good will from all political persuasions are realizing that the Governor and his friends, whether they be his favourite Cabinet Heads or his pet and partner organizations, are making us fall for the old okie-doke, they've been bamboozling us for the past several years and we've drank it up like kool aid because we've felt powerless to do anything about it, we've simply shut up and taken it.

It's good to know that - no more.

On the political side of things it's good to see the opposition, who is in the extreme minority in this state find a voice, and actually stand up and do something or say something. Check out John Land's Op-Ed from the State Newspaper. From the Op-Ed:

It is difficult for me to draw a conclusion other than that the governor cares about the bad numbers but cares nothing about the underlying cause or the devastated unemployed. He fumes about the statistics and threatens to deprive out-of-work South Carolinians of the financial assistance they so desperately need. It doesn’t take much to reason that if the number of unemployed continues to rise and we do not increase the revenues that supply our unemployment compensation fund; we will run out of money. By the way, the gap between our state and the nation has decreased in recent years because national unemployment has gone up, not because ours has gone down.

He rails against the commission and says there is something wrong with its record-keeping, that it exhibits poor management and that it’s out of control. To be sure, there is not a single agency that can’t stand to improve, and that includes the Employment Security Commission. But it is more than strange that an agency the governor finds so lacking in every regard was chosen as the service contractor by nine of the state’s 12 workforce investment regions. The Workforce Investment Act program is one of several the governor has improperly removed from the commission and placed with his Commerce Department in his failing attempt to control the numbers. Sadly, these efforts resulted in three dozen or more program employees joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Emphasis my own. Thank you Senator Land for elucidating and demystifying some of the facts in this ongoing kerfuffle.

Another voice goes further though. Blogger Earl Capps a proud low country conservative 'fisks' FITSNews for shoveling the smelly stuff for the Governor et al. And he does it in a manner that is civil and knowledgeable, qualities often missing from Mark Sanford's trumpeters. In this case, the Governor and his ilk, blaming the ESC for not placing folks with jobs, Earl explains why. First he explains,

Workforce Investment Boards, which oversee the One Stop Centers, are oversighted by Governor Sanford’s Department of Commerce, NOT the ESC.

Then he goes on to highlight the further misrepresentations of the Governor concerning One Stops,

Maybe that's a problem, but he needs to direct it to the Governor's office for an answer. Since they're not doing anything about dead kids or embezzlement at SC DSS, another Cabinet agency, maybe they'll have time to take his questions.

But that's not the only hole we saw in what he said. There were more.

The attempt to compare X number of openings to Y number of unemployed is not a good means of comparison. Many of those jobs are part-time or “executive pay” insurance sales scams, employers who fail to report they filled an opening (as an HR person, I’m guilty of that mistake more than once), etc., it’s going to look bad. If they were well-paying jobs, they often use recruiters or paid advertising to reach more targeted audiences in the first place.

The One Stop and ESC staff are generalists with no ability or resources to reach out for candidates, such as trade publications and professional networks, or specific industry knowledge. They try to fill everything from fast food to warehouse to construction trades with whoever walks in the door and they often won’t be able to fill needs as fast as a private recruiter, or as well, for a more skilled or advanced position.

South Carolina has long had a shortage of skilled labor to fill many positions, which is a big reason why jobs aren’t getting filled. A lot of companies choose not to come to this state, and others leave, because of the lack of skilled workers. The Lowcountry WIB recently set up a welding training program to help retain a defense manufacturer and won national recognition for the program all because the company could not find sixty welders - something that was shocking given the large population in the Charleston area.

This is what we're up against - a state which is not competitive with workforces in other states, and in some cases other nations. There are problems which deserve a close look and questions must be asked - one of which is why ESC even exists as an independent agency and not folded into some cabinet agency along with what the One Stop centers do. There are no easy answers or quick fixes and taking misinformed potshots isn't helping us get any closer to solving these problems.

Again, throughout emphasis was my own. Still, strong words from a guy who knows his stuff and is a leader in his own right in the low country. Look for more from Mr. Capps in the near future on dispelling other distractions created by the Governor and his friends, especially in regards to the corruption in the executive branch which is killing this state - and in at least one case, literally - and his investigation why the Governor is insistent on blaming others, from the legislators on down to the individual citizen, unemployed or not.

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Earl Capps said...

Thanks for giving me a plug there!

Earl Capps said...

Thanks for giving me a plug there!