DEW offices restored in rural counties

Vick (left) and Hardwick.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - The state House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted a budget amendment to restore 17 rural employment centers that had been dismantled by the state's Department of Employment and Workforce.

"We need to help the unemployed in our state get back to work," said Rep. Vick, who co-chairs the House Rural Caucus with Rep. Nelson Hardwick (R-Surfside Beach).{}{}"Instead of closing the offices, this agency should have been looking for ways to increase their effectiveness, particularly in rural counties, which have the highest unemployment rates in the state."{}

The amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget not only reopens the rural centers but also could triple their funding levels. Specifically it directs the agency to spend up to $1.5 million on staff and programs to help the jobless file unemployment benefit claims and{}get back to work.

Rep. Ted Vick (R-Chesterfield) knows firsthand the merits of funding a quality program that puts people back to work.{}{}As the Director of Family Programs for the S.C. National Guard, Lt. Col.{}{}Vick initiated a successful program that reduced the unemployment rate for state National Guard veterans from{}{}15 percent{}{}to 3.2 percent in two years.

The shift in money would not place a burden on the agency, Rep. Vick said, because the administrative section of DEW's budget included a significant budget increase for the Fiscal 2013-14 Year, which begins July 1.