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The Upstate’s Workforce

South Carolina’s 10-county Upstate region is home to more than 1.4 million people and has experienced a growth rate of nearly 30 percent in the last 20 years. With a growing workforce of well-educated and highly trained employees, growth industries such as engineered materials, automotive and life sciences are continuing to move the region forward at a record pace.

The Upstate labor pool of more than 700,000 offers growing companies skilled employees at competitive wages in a right-to-work environment. Many of our workers have specialized skills, including a high concentration of architectural and engineering talent, mechatronic specialists, team assemblers and metal workers, and machinists and fabricators that support our top industries.

Let our Research Team provide the specific workforce data you are looking for, by industry or occupation. Learn more and see some examples of workforce reports we can prepare for you here.

Key Attributes of South Carolina’s Workforce

  • South Carolina had the 9th highest population growth percentage for 2017-2018 according to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
  • The Greenville-Mauldin-Easley MSA was named #6 on the Forbes ranking of America’s Engineering Hubs: The Cities with the Greatest Capacity for Innovation.
  • Upstate South Carolina boasts 19.1 engineers per 1,000 employees and 11,037 total engineering jobs.
  • The South Carolina workforce has been ranked as 5th best in the nation by CNBC, for quality and availability of workers and workforce training.
  • South Carolina is also a right-to-work state with 3.4 percent union membership, the 2nd-lowest unionization rate in the country.
  • S.C. has the lowest unionization rate in the nation.

Workforce Development and Training

Building the Future Work Force

Within the Upstate, public and private partners share in the development and implementation of workforce development programs. The Upstate has a strong network of technical training schools and more than 26 colleges and universities actively working together with industry leaders and educators on all levels, from K-12 to technical training and professional advancement, to ensure access to a highly-skilled workforce for decades to come.

Pickens County Scholar Technician® serves as an example of many Upstate workforce development initiatives that connect K-12 students with manufacturing career opportunities. From STEM competitions to on-the-job learning experiences, this program has driven interest in technical training and helped connect companies with talent.

South Carolina’s Workforce Training Programs

Established in 1961, readySCTM is one of the oldest and most experienced workforce training programs in the United States. They provide customized training for new and expanding business and industry in the state of South Carolina. This training is provided at little or no cost to qualifying companies. readySC™ works closely with companies to provide the recruiting and training assistance they need to get up and running and supports their continued growth. And, Apprenticeship Carolina™ helps their workforce continue to grow by guiding companies through the registered apprenticeship process from initial information to full recognition in the National Registered Apprenticeship System.

readySC™ provides a full range of services to qualified companies including:

  • Recruitment Solutions
  • Curriculum Development & Training
  • Instructors
  • Training Site
  • Project Management Approach


The SC Technical College System works hand-in-hand with its affiliate programs: readySC™Apprenticeship Carolina™  and QuickJobs Carolina™, so companies located in the area can take full advantage of the extensive education and training network. The Upstate is home to four technical colleges, serving more than 33,000 students and providing customized technical training through readySC, as well as through degree and certificate programs educating students to meet the needs of regional employers.

Learn more about the wealth of programs offered at these Upstate institutions: