EXCLUSIVE: Layoffs at SCDEW
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The department that is supposed to get people jobs is laying people off. Possibly more than 100 people are being laid off from the Department of Employment and Workforce, commonly known as the unemployment agency.
One-stop job centers are spread out all across the state to give resources to the unemployed and help them find jobs. According to an internal memo at the department of employment and workforce, the job centers will be no more as of June 30, 2011. Orangeburg State Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, “When you talk about closing one-stop centers across the state and creating regional centers, that does not take into account the rural parts of our state and the barrier that some unemployed people in rural communities face.”
This past spring, as Governor Mark Sanford signed an overhaul of the state’s former employment agency, Representative Cobb-Hunter shook the governor’s hand. Now, Cobb-Hunter is shaking her head after ABC Columbia News revealed to her details of the memo stating the one-stops will close, with more than 30 area directors being told they will lose their jobs. A source close to the situation says more than 100 stimulus jobs at the agency will also be gone, as well as possible cuts to other departments.
Cobb-Hunter says, “These changes are affecting a whole lot of people statewide, and this is not something that should be done arbitrarily, prematurely, and certainly not without some conversations with the General Assembly and the executive branch about findings of the Legislative Audit Council. Cobb-Hunter is upset that she and other lawmakers have been kept in the dark. She says, “It’s much to important an agency for them to operate without scrutiny.”
Despite that original memo, after our repeated requests for interviews, Thursday evening, the Department of Employment and Workforce sent ABC Columbia News a statement saying the agency’s job centers will not actually close, but they will be operated by other entities because an external report found that using the Department of Employment and Workforce to operate those centers presents a “conflict of interest.”