$150,000 Grant Awarded to Barnwell County (SC)

Rural Development Partners (Forest City, IA) and NMTC partner Cascades f/k/a Orchids Paper (Barnwell, SC) awarded a matching funds grant of $150K toward workforce development and community initiatives in Barnwell County, a region dominated by manufacturing, agriculture, and service industries.

SouthernCarolina Alliance

Barnwell is one of seven counties represented by the SouthernCarolina Alliance, a regional nonprofit organization providing economic development, marketing, and recruitment in the Lower Savannah and Lowcountry regions of South Carolina. Manufacturing is the largest industry employer in the region, accounting for 16% of employment with only 50% labor force participation. According to the 2018 ACS, 20.7% of families live at or below the poverty level. Area employers in the manufacturing sector have repeatedly identified soft skills training and lack of manufacturing experience as their biggest hiring challenges.

RDP and Cascades provided a $102K grant to help narrow the skills gap and create a pipeline of workers for area businesses. Residents have the opportunity to upskill, earning industry recognized certifications through Palmetto Training, Inc., and Denmark Technical College. Scholarships will help qualified students pay for their education, restoring hope for high-paying jobs close to home.

Palmetto Training, Inc.

Palmetto Training, Inc. is a branch of South Carolina Technical Institute, whose purpose is to meet the career development goals of every student they train while supporting industry requirements for better prepared candidates. An exclusive opportunity for residents of Barnwell, Allendale, Bamberg and Hampton counties has been offered, to earn Certifications in three fields:

1) Short Term Manufacturing; a 4-week program certifying students in Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), and Forklift.

2) Welding Course with NCCER certification; an 11-week course for Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA), and Forklift.

3) South Carolina Commercial Driver’s (CDL) License Course, a 148-hour course helping students obtain their CDL.

Upon successful completion of training, Palmetto offers placement assistance for all industries they train in.  

Veronica Mixson, a single mother from Barnwell, has joined Palmetto Training Institute’s Intro to Manufacturing and CNC Program; funded by the Rural Development Partners/Cascades grant, administered through SouthernCarolina Alliance.

“All my kids are finally in school and I’m ready for a job. Most of the jobs around me are in manufacturing, so I’m taking this class to help me get started.” – Veronica Mixson

Scholarships cover the entire $3,000 cost of the class for Barnwell, Allendale, Bamberg and Hampton County residents.

Denmark Technical College

Denmark Technical College is an open-door institution providing affordable, post-secondary education, culminating in associate degrees/diplomas/certificates to citizens from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. The ManuFirst and Microburst courses are designed to provide a solution for lack of experience in the job-candidate pool, and were delivered simultaneously in-person at Denmark Technical College Barnwell Campus. The ManuFirst program was designed to be a stackable certificate with seamless transition to the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Projection Technician certification program. Participants learned the production processes and procedures necessary to qualify for manufacturing jobs. Students were awarded a ManuFirst SC Certificate, OSHA 10 card, Manufacturing Skills Standards Council Safety Certificate, and LEAN Manufacturing Yellow Belt Certificate upon successful completion.

The SC Department of Commerce Regional Workforce Advisor and Master Instructor delivered the Microburst EmployABILITY Skills training; a 40-hour turn-key certification system for cultivating soft skills including: 1) Interpersonal; 2) Employment Basics; 3) Communication; 4) Teamwork; 5) Conflict Resolution; 6) Dependability and Reliability; 7) Flexibility & Adaptability; 8) Planning & Organization; 9) Productivity; and 10) Initiative. A Certificate endorsed by Microburst Learning, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of South Carolina.

Barnwell Fire Department

RDP and Orchids Paper provided $48K to the Barnwell Fire Department for equipment, eliminating the city’s need for a tax increase or borrowed funds. The funding purchased thermal imaging cameras, an automated external defibrillator, Jaws of Life, and multi-gas meter.

Rural Development Partners

Rural Development Partners utilizes the NMTC Program to help organizations throughout the nation build and expand operations in distressed rural communities. RDP investments help create jobs, economic growth, training opportunities, and food security for Rural America by partnering with organizations that take action to invest in and support their local communities. From 2004 through 2021, RDP has won eleven NMTC awards from the U.S. Treasury totaling $701.7 million. In addition to providing NMTC allocation, RDP and their NMTC partners provide matching funds grants toward workforce and community development initiatives known as RDP’s Community Investment Program. RDP works with community leaders to determine the most impactful use for grant funding. To learn more about RDP or the NMTC program, visit our website or social media platforms: YouTube, FaceBook, and LinkedIn. See how RDP and NMTCs are revitalizing rural communities nationwide!