‘Figuring it out together’ – SCC hosts first human resources task force meeting

Southeastern Community College welcomed 31 human resources directors and staff members to campus for a breakfast and workshop discussion on June 5, the first of its kind for the college. The main goal of the breakfast event was to compile a list of roadblocks that local employers and industry partners hit when recruiting and retaining new employees. 

SCC President Dr. Chris English made opening remarks and highlighted the apprenticeship and short-term workforce development programs at SCC that are training qualified candidates and creating pathways for them. He said that work-based learning opportunities are going to “grow our own” in meeting the needs of employers.  

After breakfast, everyone was asked to write down the problems they face during the hiring process and share them with the room. A few commonalities among the employers were finding employees who would stay more than two years, finding employees who would move to Columbus County, finding employees who valued good benefits over higher pay and finding qualified employees in general.  

Most employers said that new graduates fresh out of college are looking for a “foot in the door to gain experience” and then moving away to other higher-paying jobs. They agreed that many new recruits lacked the “soft skills” required for interviews such as maintaining eye contact, correct grammar on an application, dressing appropriately and not looking at a smartphone during the interview. 

“What I have found out from living in this great community, working at this great college, working with the school systems and so many places is that the answer only lies in us locking arms and figuring it out together,” said Dr. Sylvia Cox, SCC’s Executive Vice President. “We are convinced that we pulled the right people together to figure it out.” 

SCC’s Dean of Business Careers and Technical Programs Angie Ransom, Apprenticeship Coordinator Denise Young, Apprenticeship Director Matt Gore and Director of Customized & Industrial Workforce Training Ryan Todd coordinated the event with inspiration from a previous conference they attended.  

“This event is a network of HR professionals who are coming together to address the challenges that we are all facing with recruiting, hiring and retaining employees,” Ransom said. “The college has a lot of solutions to offer, but we weren’t about solutions today. We had to make sure we understood what the issues were.” 

Ransom said that SCC was equipped to handle the problems addressed at the breakfast event and is now working together with HR staff from industry partners who made their issues clear.  

“Our group agreed to meet quarterly,” Ransom said. “We’ll take the list compiled today, and our team will start working on it immediately. So, in the next meeting, we’ll be reporting out all the changes we’ve made and what resources we have available.” 

SCC provides students with a Pathway to Employment class that teaches them how to conduct themselves during a job interview, write a resume and display proper etiquette while working. Ransom said that enhancing PTE classes was an essential next step.  

See more photos from the event