New program empowers young people in South Carolina to succeed through work

New program empowers young people in South Carolina to succeed through work

Nothing beats that first job to teach soft skills and empowerment

Originally published by WYFF 4 on May 22, 2024

GREENVILLE, S.C. — When Pamela Evette was a teenager, she donned a polyester uniform and headed to her job at the Dairy Queen, something she says was formative in building the leadership skills and business skills that propelled her success as an adult. 

Now, as lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Evette has created the “Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders Youth Employment Initiative” with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

The goal is to help high school and college-aged students and their parents realize the many benefits of a summer or part-time job, even beyond the paycheck. 

They’ve launched the “Youth Employment Site.”

Evette said, “I’ve heard repeatedly from business owners that graduates entering the workforce often lack crucial soft skills, like responsibility, effective communication, teamwork, and many other important attributes necessary to succeed in adulthood.”

She said her own experience as a working teenager taught her that nothing compared to the hands-on experience of working a part-time job in gaining valuable experience in social skills and financial skills. 

On Wednesday, Evette and SC DEW Executive Director William Floyd visited The Home Depot on Woodruff Road in Greenville. 

Floyd said, “The best first step toward the workforce is your first part-time job, learn all kinds of soft skills, the ability to talk with people, help customers with their needs. It’s a great training ground for future excellence.”

And he said it helps South Carolina businesses and industry fill some much needed positions. 

The Home Depot manager Chris Abdella and assistant manager Bobby Boaen told Evette and Floyd that their part-time student employees often become full-time employees with The Home Depot after graduating from college. 

Grayson Stokes is a 21-year-old accounting major at Clemson University who has worked for The Home Depot part-time while in college. He said that The Home Depot’s tuition reimbursement program is an extra help along with the salary he earns and the soft skills he’s acquired on the job. 

And Logan Hyll, a 19-year-old sophomore at Coastal Carolina said his work experience at The Home Depot has led to additional skills in his major of marketing. 

Employers and young people seeking jobs can now turn to a special page on the DEW website to connect to employment resources including tips for resume building, information about soft skills and answers to frequently asked questions.  To connect. just click here. Interested employers can connect to a digital press kit here.