South Carolina Vocational and Technical Schools

Few states were as negatively impacted by the recession as South Carolina. Yet, the state continues to recover economically, driven largely in part to three things, according to a 2013 report from Wells Fargo economic analyst Marc Vitner: the state's location between metro hubs Charlotte and Atlanta, an international industrial base and strong transportation infrastructure.

Data from an October 2014 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond shows that -- In 2014 -- most industries in South Carolina are on the upswing, including leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, mining, trade and transportation, utilities and more.

The positive momentum in hiring trends should be welcome news to individuals considering a post-secondary vocational, certificate, diploma or career training program, as employers continue to seek trained, skillful employees.

Top industries and employers in South Carolina

South Carolina is well-represented in a spectrum of business sectors, from financial services to real estate, retail trade to manufacturing. As of August 2014, more than 1.5 million people in South Carolina were employed across the following areas:


Statewide Employed, August 2014

Trade, Transportation and Utilities


Business & Professional Services




Leisure & Hospitality


Education & Health Services


Financial Services






Source: Federal Bank of Richmond, South Carolina Economic Snapshot, 2014

The state's business climate has attracted hundreds of private business investments during the past decade, including Milliken & Company in Spartanburg, a company that typically produces in excess of $1 billion in revenue in each year. Grant Thornton LLP releases an annual report of the Top 100 privately-held companies in South Carolina. In 2013, two other companies joined Milliken & Company on the list as South Carolina businesses that earn over $1 billion per year in revenue, including The Intertech Group, Inc. and Affiliates (Charleston) and JM Smith Corporation (Spartanburg).

Other major employers that made the list include:

  • United Sporting Companies-distribution
  • Southeastern Freight Lines, Inc.-transportation
  • Hilex Poly Co, LLC.-manufacturing
  • EDENS-retail trade
  • G&P Trucking Company, Inc.-transportation
  • Medical Services of America, Inc.-health care

Vocational careers paths are available in essentially every growing or large industry in the state. For example, programs in construction trade or plumbing could prepare a student to enter the construction industry, while a diploma or certificate program in medical assisting or billing and coding could help pave the way for employment in South Carolina's health care system.

State of the local economy in South Carolina

The state's economic recovery can be seen in the relatively low unemployment rate of 6.4 percent as of August 2014. Yet, looking at the employment performance regionally throughout the state paints an even better picture. Multiple metropolitan areas in South Carolina have unemployment rates under 6 percent as of August 2014, led by Charleston at 5.3 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

  • Greenville: 5.3 percent
  • Anderson: 5.6 percent
  • Columbia: 5.6 percent
  • Spartanburg: 5.8 percent

In areas such as Greenville and Charleston, major employers can be found across a range of vocational-related career fields, such as health care and manufacturing. Below is a list of the five largest employers in Greenville, South Carolina as of July 2014, according to data from the Greenville Area Development Corporation:



Employees (As of July 2014)

Greenville Health System

Health Care


School District of Greenville County



Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Health Care


Michelin North America, Inc.



GE Power & Water



Research from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance reveals Charleston to be not only one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country (7.2 percent between 2010 and 2013), but a metropolitan area that is experiencing remarkable business growth as well. Major companies, including Google, Boeing, Daimler and more have operations in Charleston. Manufacturing, a vital vocational career area, is a central reason for Charleston's economic success. Several companies employ more than 1,000 individuals in Charleston, including the following:



Boeing South Carolina


Robert Bosch LLC


Nucor Steel


KapStone Charleston Kraft LLC


Source: Charleston Regional Development Alliance

Vocational careers in South Carolina

South Carolina is committed to a trained and skilled workforce, evidenced by the formation of the Center for Accelerated Technology Training in 1961. Its program, readySC, partners with local businesses to equip prospective employees with the skills necessary for success in a diverse array of areas, such as aerospace, plastics, automotive, manufacturing, distribution and more.

Proper training from a program such as readySC or a vocational school in South Carolina is paramount to unlocking potential employment opportunities. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), those career opportunities are projected to continue well into the future. Below is a list of 15 jobs in the state that are projected by the BLS to have the largest number of job openings between 2012 and 2022:

Prospective students should investigates the benefit of vocational school training, diploma or certificate programs to discover how a post-secondary education can prepare them to join the workforce.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates -- South Carolina, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm

Charleston Regional Development Alliance, A Solid Business Climate, http://www.crda.org/business/market_profile/leading_employers.html#manufacturing/

Federal Bank of Richmond, South Carolina Snapshot, 2014, https://www.richmondfed.org/research/regional_economy/reports/snapshot/pdf/snapshot_sc.pdf

Greenville Area Development Corporation, Major Employers, http://www.greenvilleeconomicdevelopment.com/major-employers.php

Projections Central, Long-Term Projections, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

readySC, http://www.readysc.org/industries.htm

Wells Fargo Economics Group, South Carolina 2013 Economic Outlook, https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/downloads/pdf/com/insights/economics/regional-reports/South_Carolina_09252013.pdf

Vocational Schools in South Carolina
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