If you’re seeking state-funded workforce training, be ready for a criminal background check and a drug test if a coastal lawmaker’s pre-filed legislation is passed into law.
Rep. Stephen Goldfinch, a Murrells Inlet Republican, filed an amendment to the Workforce Investment Act last week. Goldfinch told South Carolina Radio Network that the bill protects taxpayers’ money by reducing waste.
South Carolina offers workforce training through S.C. Works, under the act. Training is provided by the act through certified training providers throughout the state to help job seekers get the education and skills required for in-demand jobs, according to the Department of Employment and Workforce.
Goldfinch asked that if someone’s criminal background or drug use will disqualify him or her as an applicant, why should the state fund training for him or her for that position?
“Nobody likes the wasteful spending of money, regardless of your political leanings, and that’s exactly what this bill fixes,” Goldfinch said.
The bill reads:
“SC Works shall require a test for illegal drug use and a fingerprint-based criminal background check conducted by SLED of any customer determined to need trade or occupational training before SC Works may pay for the training.”
If the test or check provides information that would preclude an applicant from a job, the bill would allow S.C. Works to deny payment for training. Goldfinch said the legislation was sparked from talks with S.C. Works employees who lamented funding training for applicants who were later unable to secure a job because of a criminal background, such as a DUI for truck driving jobs, or because of drug use for jobs that require a drug test. But Goldfinch did not have hard numbers on how frequent this problem is.
“I don’t know how big of a problem it is, but one is too many. I don’t understand why we wouldn’t have a simple safeguard in place,” Goldfinch said.