Enquirer Herald

York County leaders launch effort to alleviate joblessness

What can York County do for job seekers and the community as a whole when all are united?

Dale Dove would like to explore the possibilities.

Dove is board chair of Renew Our Community, known as “The ROC,” an organization that acts as a one-stop center to help and encourage the jobless and needy.

At a news conference Thursday, he announced the center’s new initiative: York County Unites for Jobs.

Dove said he has been troubled by job losses and unemployment.

“I am concerned about all the places in the world ... but this is where I live,” he said. “This is what I call my part of the wall.”

If this community doesn’t do something to help alleviate joblessness, it is not doing right by its fellow man, Dove said.

At a June 6 meeting, Renew Our Community and other leaders will discuss a partnership with Cincinnati Works, a nonprofit that offers job skill training and employment assistance.

“We’ve got to create some vibrancy here,” Dove said. “This is a new effort that we’ve got to have. We’ve all got to unite as a community and get ahead of the curve.”

Goals of the partnership would include uniting the community, creating a vibrant job base and offering job-related assistance.

Several city, county and state leaders on Thursday showed their support for the upcoming meeting and initiative and called for unity.

Richard Spatola, executive director for Renew Our Community, used what he called a “simple picture” to demonstrate how what a community can do: one raindrop doesn’t really have much affect; but many raindrops are a downpour.

“We have a lot of individual raindrops doing so many good things,” Spatola said. “What we don’t have, in my opinion, is an opportunity for partnerships and collaborations.”

Everyone – business and civic leaders, churches, educators and more – must lay aside their personal agendas.

“We want to be a resource for this community, but there’s no way we can do that without the help of everyone in York County,” he said.

Susie Hinton, a Rock Hill City Council member, supports the initiative, saying as long as the call for unity is from the heart instead of only through words, success can happen.

Both Lee Gardner, Family Trust Federal Credit Union president and chief executive, and S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, said they have seen firsthand the affects of unemployment on talented people.

“That’s difficult for us,” Gardner said. “It’ hurts our business. It hurts our community.”

As a business leader, Gardner said he feels he is part of the solution.

“They’re not offering a hand out, they’re offering a hand up,” Norman said. “They’re not giving out fruit from the garden. They’re teaching how to plant a garden.”

An open community meeting about York County Unites for Jobs will be at 8 a.m. June 6 at Westminster Presbyterian Church on India Hook Road. For information, call 803-328-0003 or visit www.renewoc.org.