COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Several agencies in South Carolina have hundreds of vacancies, including the state Department of Corrections where the staff shortage is putting a strain on operations.
More than 7,600 state jobs are currently open.
Agencies like the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Transportation are in need of hundreds of employees alone.
The SCDC has the greatest need for more employees with more than 1,000 current vacancies.
“You know if you have one officer and over 200 inmates that makes it difficult for someone, it makes it difficult for someone on 12 hour shifts. it makes it difficult for programming. It makes it difficult for transportation. It makes it difficult if there’s an emergency to respond,” Director Bryan Stirling said in explaining the impact of the staff shortage.
Fully staffed, the SCDC would have 6,100 employees.
Director Stirling continued, “Corrections is unique. It takes a special person to work here. We are working against the likes of BMW plants and the Volvo but also the detention centers. I was recently told Greenville County raised their salaries and that definitely doesn’t help.
SCDC and SCDOT are in need of the most employees.
Employee salary is a recurring issue. According to the S.C. State Employee Association, many workers are still paid on a pay scale based on a $4 minimum wage.
And when competing with private sector industries, the increase in salary isn’t enough to make some of the tougher jobs in the state appealing.