Residents of Fairfield County have observed changes at the V.C. Summer nuclear site as expansion occurs there, however there has been some debate as to how much the new jobs being created benefit residents of this county.
Background checks and expungement of criminal records have been discussed because in order for applicants to work at a nuclear site, they must measure up to certain federal security standards.
Though that may slow the hiring rate and create a barrier to employment for some, there are training centers in place in this county to help eligible persons find employment at the construction site and have a hands-on impact on the $10 billion project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear facility.
Construction jobs for form level work are one area that has seen growth.
The construction jobs are filled by Shaw Group, a nationwide company that tries to hire locally if possible.
According to Gentry Brann, vice president for investor relations and corporate communications with the Shaw Group, “Shaw makes every effort to hire within the local area, and based on information from earlier this year, Shaw has hired approximately 60 percent of the skilled workforce from the state of South Carolina. Additionally, about 30 percent of the skilled workforce were drawn from the surrounding counties of Fairfield, Lexington, Richland and Newberry.”
Brann also said that Shaw emphasizes granting subcontracts for construction to local businesses.
“Based on information from earlier this year, nearly 90 percent of the project’s subcontracts were from the surrounding region of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia,” Brann said. “Approximately 50 percent of the V.C. Summer subcontracts have been awarded to companies within South Carolina.”
One frustration in the current labor market is having jobs go unfilled because there is a lack of an adequately trained work force.
In addition to the Quickjobs program at Midlands Tech, residents of Fairfield County have another training center in county they can utilize.
According to Walter C. English, CFO at The Construction Training Center in Blair, the CTC is one of Shaw’s Primary Training Partners.
Certified by the Commission on Higher Education and under the National Center For Construction Education and Research (NCCER) in form carpentry, reinforcing iron(Rebar) and concrete finishing, over 90 percent of CTC’s trainees go to work for Shaw or other construction companies.
The center aims at removing barriers to employment and even provides transportation to Blair by bus for qualified persons who are willing to learn a trade.
Results are encouraging for the partnership between the CTC and Shaw group.
Ralph D. Heath, training manager for VC Summer Units 2 and 3 said that CTC has held up its obligations in creating qualified craft workers for the operation.
Heath said that, “CTC currently provides training for industrial carpentry, reinforcing iron, and concrete finishing, and as of May 2012, is the only training facility in the state to provide this training.”
He noted many synergies among CTC, Shaw, and most of Shaw’s training partners.
The hiring program at Shaw undergoes internal oversight as well as external oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission..
Shaw officials confirm at present that more than 1,550 employees are working on the V.C. Summer site, including those from Shaw, subcontractors and Shaw’s Consortium team members.
“At the peak of construction, Shaw plans on hiring approximately 3,000-3,500 workers at the site, and we continue to look to the South Carolina region for skilled workers,” Brann said.
More information about job opportunities with Shaw or with CTC can be found at http://www.constructiontrainingcenter.org.