South Carolina National Guard


Hometown: Columbia, SC, US

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South Carolina National Guard celebrates employment initiatives

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South Carolina National Guard celebrates employment initiatives


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South Carolina National Guard celebrates employment initiatives By Allison Caldwell, S.C. National Guard Employment Services Division

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined representatives from the South Carolina National Guard, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and other veteran and employment service providers, to celebrate a successful first year for Operation Palmetto Employment (OPE) during a summit held Feb. 25, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina.

The program OPE is a collaborative statewide military employment program launched in February 2014. It stemmed from an initiative by the S.C. National Guard to address the issue that Guard members returning from deployments were unable to find employment. Through the success of this program, managed by the Employment Services Division of the service member and family care directorate, they partnered with DEW to form OPE. Due in part to OPE, DEW recently announced that the state’s unemployment rate for veterans dropped to 3.5 percent in 2014 from 4.1 percent in 2013.

“One year ago, we launched Operation Palmetto Employment as an idea,” said Haley. “It’s not an idea anymore. Today we’re celebrating a year of successful teamwork and partnerships that have put 1,300 veterans and service members into meaningful jobs.”

Speakers, including the adjutant general for S.C., Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., S.C. DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton, Col. Ronald. F. Taylor of the South Carolina National Guard, U.S. Navy veteran Michael Marsden, U.S. Marine veteran John Warren and South Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) volunteer Jennifer Harding, touched on the larger economic and personal impacts when service members, veterans and family members successfully enter the civilian workforce.

“To all South Carolina employers: I urge you to hire veterans not out of pity, but to improve your profitability,” said Warren, founder and president of Lima One Capital in Greenville. “If you give a veteran the opportunity to work for you, they will get the job done.”

Sixteen organizations were recognized during the event as certified Palmetto Military Employers, which means they actively hire and retain veterans and support South Carolina’s military community.

"It's about community, it's about partnerships," said Livingston. "Thank you to all at SCDEW and the many outstanding employers for their unbridled dedication to this important program, supporting our veterans."

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