In 2016, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) piloted the Back to Work program to assist individuals who are in interim housing for challenges such as homelessness or addiction transition into the workforce.

The curriculum is a 40-hour, boot-camp style program that assists participants in developing skills in the areas of interviewing, resume writing, conflict resolution, financial planning, dressing for success, understanding diversity in the workplace, soft skills and more. Each participant works with a coach who mentors them with the goal of obtaining employment and self-sufficiency. At the end of the program, a targeted hiring event is held to give the participants the opportunity to interview with employers that are looking to hire talent with their skills.

Classes are usually held in the facilities of a partner organization, local library or SC Works Center. The Back to Work program is offered in a 2-3 week intensive course or 5 week course depending on the need of the partner organization.

All graduates receive a certificate of completion at a graduation event that is attended by the partner organization, DEW, families and community organizations. Frequently the keynote speaker is an alumnus of the program who can share their background and show the graduates what devotion to a job and long-term employment success looks like.

Since the success of the first program in Columbia, Back to Work has expanded throughout the state with the partnership of organizations such as:

Transitions Homeless Shelter in Columbia

Serenity Place with the Phoenix Center in Greenville

Meg’s House in Greenwood

New Directions in Waccamaw

Victory Tabernacle Deliverance Temple in Lower Savannah

Home of Hope in Trident

If you are interested in participating in a Back to Work hiring event or would like more information about the program, contact your local SC Works center.