The city of Beaufort and the Lowcountry Economic Alliance have joined forces to help train outgoing Marines for local jobs.
They hope the program will attract businesses to Beaufort and then supply those businesses with specially trained employees.
The Lowcountry Economic Alliance will spend $25,000 from its programs fund to start the experimental initiative called Transitional Workforce Educational Assistance Collaborative, or TWEAC.
The program will first focus on collecting current data about Marines and local veterans, alliance executive director Kim Statler said. An employee will be hired to aggregate information and reach out to officials at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Beaufort Naval Hospital.
Statler hopes job training can begin by January. TWEAC is also seeking grants from the state and military-support organizations. Eventually, businesses in need of employees might fund the training, she said.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said the goal is to identify potential TWEAC candidates "well before" they leave the Marine Corps and get them into work training. TWEAC will be careful to not compete with the Corps for those who may re-enlist, he said.
Keyserling and others have informally spoken with Marine officials about the program, he said, but formal discussions and an agreement will wait until TWEAC has hired a military liaison.
Keyserling and Statler said at least two companies have shown interest in the program. TWEAC also has been touted as a way to help attract businesses to the city's recently purchased Beaufort Commerce Park by supplying a ready workforce for potential occupants.
Keyserling said the initial focus will be on air station personnel. TWEAC board chairman Garry Parks, a retired Marine lieutenant general, said that with the air station, a Boeing plant in North Charleston and an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training facility being added to the base, aeronautics would be a natural start until other businesses or industries show interest in the program.
- Report: Beaufort County should diversify economy, add 'primary' industries, June 21, 2012
- Beaufort celebrates Commerce Park purchase; no new tenants secured, July 12, 2012
- Deal on Beaufort Commerce Park expected to close Thursday, May 29, 2012