February 8, 2010

Project Links Workers,Jobs

John P. McDermott  /  Post and Courier

A group of firms from the local knowledge economy has teamed up with the city of Charleston to create a one-stop, online resource for high-skilled workers and the businesses seeking to tap into that talent pool.

The result is Charleston Works, described as "a workforce development initiative designed to promote Charleston as an emerging premium destination for technology professionals."

Among the collaborators working on the project with the city's business development office and the Charleston Digital Corridor are eThority, PeopleMatter, Telogical Systems, Life Cycle Engineering, Monolith Software and Blackbaud Inc.

Ernest Andrade, director of Charleston Business Development and the affiliated Digital Corridor program, said the quick-start initiative cost less than $5,000.

"The delivery of Charleston Works went from concept to execution in less than 10 days," he said Friday.

The effort includes, naturally, a Web site - CharlestonWorks.com - that went live about two weeks ago. It features bare-bones business profiles, employment resources and a password-protected portal where participating employers can share information about best practices or promising job candidates.

"It provides a new level of cooperation among Charleston's knowledge-based employers that previously didn't exist," Andrade said.

Charleston Works also plans to spread the word by promoting local high-tech career opportunities and the region's knowledge economy at university job fairs.

As of Thursday, 128 area firms were listed on the site, ranging from defense contractors to software companies. Of those, 35 showed openings for the skilled set.

"Here's the math on that," Andrade said. "That's 27 percent – and that's only what we know about. There may be more."

He estimated the list of participating businesses would surpass 200 within the next two months.

"Creating awareness of what Charleston offers is critical to attracting talent, and this site will help," said Joe Keith, talent acquisition manager at Daniel Island-based software giant Blackbaud.