Beaufort officials touting career education for men and women leaving the military have a 60-day plan to gather information.
The Lowcountry Economic Alliance will spend $25,000 from its programs fund to start the experimental Transitional Workforce Educational Assistance Collaborative, or TWEAC. The program is part of a partnership between the alliance and the city of Beaufort, which bought the Beaufort Commerce Park in the spring and is attempting to woo new businesses to the 167-acre property.
TWEAC will focus on military members with aeronautical training. All three local bases -- Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Beaufort Naval Hospital -- will be included in the pilot phase.
Officials hope the education program will entice businesses by offering a pool of educated, prepared workers. Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said representatives of an overseas business have visited to learn about the program, and a few other prospective businesses have shown interest in its potential to provide a ready workforce. He said he has spoken with one local business, which he would not name, that might expand and hire employees from the program.
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Alliance executive director Kim Statler said a sergeant major who recently left the Marine Corps could be hired this week to lead the pilot phase. Once that person is hired, work will begin quickly to gather and analyze information about the needs of local businesses and about Marines and sailors at local bases leaving active duty within the year, Statler said.
She added that she hopes job training can begin by January.
The alliance plans to seek grants from the state and from military-support organizations for the program's future funding. Eventually, businesses in need of employees might fund the training, Statler added.