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COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's annual unemployment rate for veterans declined to 3.3 percent in 2018, down from 3.9 percent in 2017.

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This is a 15.4 percent drop in the rate year-over-year, and a considerable decrease from the 5 percent unemployment rate in 2016.

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The national unemployment rate for veterans – men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were not on active duty at the time of this yearly survey by the U.S. Department of Labor – was 3.5 percent in 2018.

“There is no state more committed to the men and women who sacrificed everything to serve in the line of duty than South Carolina,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “The fact that they are benefiting from our state’s growing economy, along with the rest of our citizens, is news that we can all celebrate. With Director Ellzey’s experienced leadership, I’m confident that DEW and the statewide SC Works system will continue to connect these heroes with potential employers.”

Confirmed as executive director recently, G. Daniel “Dan” Ellzey is excited to see the results of the work being done to help veterans.

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“I am honored to be appointed executive director of this important cabinet agency, and, as I join DEW, I am proud to see the positive outcomes of our statewide partnerships and the work of our Disabled Veteran Outreach Program representatives and Local Veteran Employment Representatives as they help those who have served our country find honorable work across the state,” Ellzey said. “Their focus to find the right fit for veterans and their relationship with businesses to determine their workforce needs and inform them about specific advantages of hiring veterans is making a difference. South Carolina is seeing the benefits of this effort.”

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DEW has made finding jobs for veterans a top priority. The agency’s services deliver employment assistance to veterans including:

  • Local veteran employment representatives in SC Works centers throughout the state who actively engage the business community to cultivate relationships and market veterans as great hires.
  • One-on-one priority service with DEW staff. Identifying and assisting individuals with barriers to employment.
  • This response includes helping veterans transition from a military way of communicating to coaching them on how to word resumes to being prepared to answer interview questions so they display their skills accurately and effectively to civilian hiring managers.

DEW also partners with the S.C. National Guard on a project called Operation Palmetto Employment to streamline and increase the employment process from active duty to civilian life for South Carolina’s military community. To learn more about how this partnership provides resources to link service members, veterans, family members and employers to the goal of gainful employment, see dew.sc.gov/ope.

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