Surveys aim to identify workforce barriers in Greenville area

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Public transportation and parking are the subject of an ongoing series of Workforce Data Collaborative surveys of area workers and employers.

The collaborative’s survey of employers and employees in the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center and the surrounding Donaldson area will include child care, affordable housing, and criminal records, said Adrea Turner, director of talent and workforce solutions for the Greenville Chamber.

“Those are other barriers to employment and career advancement,” she said.

The SCTAC/Donaldson survey, which closes Nov. 16, is the third conducted by the collaborative, a joint effort of the chamber, the Greenville Area Development Corp., the Appalachian Council of Governments, and SC Works.

Results of the collaborative’s survey for the Mauldin area will be released publically at 10 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Mauldin Cultural Center. Turner said just over 100 Mauldin surveys were received, but that it represented more than 2,100 employees.

Brookfield, an office park near the intersection of Interstate 385 and Butler Road, is the home of several call centers. While Greenlink bus service is available downtown, it is not available to either Brookfield or SCTAC, both of which are in the county, Turner said.

The results of the surveys could inform changes that would enhance workforce participation and availability, she said. The surveys will gather information about where respondents work and live, which can then be used in transportation planning, she said.

For instance, if data show that a high concentration of Brookfield or SCTAC employees live along the White Horse Road corridor, it could prompt discussion of a dedicated line or partnership discussions between the employers and Greenlink, she said.

“It’s all about identifying and working to eliminate barriers to employment,” Turner said.

The downtown survey showed that 92 percent of respondents drive to and from work alone, and that 67 percent of them said they don’t take the bus because they prefer to drive. Forty-one percent of respondents said they didn’t take public transportation because of inconvenient routes. Thirty percent said frequency of buses was inconvenient, while 22 percent cited inadequate hours of service.

Parking, both availability and affordability, was also a concern to downtown workers and employers.

The collaborative is considering conducting a similar survey in the Pelham Road area and one for Greenville County residents seeking work and those who could work but are not.

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