Stretching along Interstate 77 (I-77) from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Columbia, South Carolina, the South Carolina I-77 Alliance region consistently outpaced the US during the first part of the decade. Led by employment gains in manufacturing, healthcare, and professional services, the region added nearly 30,000 jobs between 2011 and 2016. Even with the individual successes experienced by the Alliance’s member counties—York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, and Richland—the group remained committed to the benefits of a coordinated approach to marketing the region as a means to spur investment and drive prosperity.
The South Carolina I-77 Alliance hired TIP Strategies to conduct a regional labor study and examine the alignment of the workforce with the organization’s target industries. As part of the analysis, TIP also examined Fort Jackson’s impact on the regional labor force. With more than 800 soldiers separating from service annually and 46,000 retirees and family members served, the installation represented a potential pool of workers, including soldiers transitioning to civilian employment with skills in key fields, such as office and administrative functions, maintenance and repair, healthcare, and transportation and material moving. Overall, the Regional Workforce Study documented the depth and breadth of the regional workforce, highlighted its strengths, and identified key challenges that must be addressed to maintain the region’s competitive edge. The study and the associated county profiles quickly became an important tool in the Alliance’s efforts. In 2018, TIP was engaged to update the regional data and county profiles to reflect the addition of Lancaster County to the original four-county region.