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Governor McMaster taps current workforce chief of staff to run agency

Workforce Director South Carolina
Jeffrey Collins/AP
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, left, listens as his nominee to run the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, William Floyd, right, speaks to reporters on Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

South Carolina's governor didn't have to look far to find his nominee to run the state's workforce and unemployment agency.

Gov. Henry McMaster announced Thursday that he has tapped the Department of Employment and Workforce's chief of staff, William Floyd, who spent more than 35 years as a labor lawyer.

He said Floyd is the right person to keep transforming the agency as it concentrates more on trying to find workers with the right training and education to fill empty jobs than running the unemployment insurance program.

Floyd came to the agency last June. He was a colonial in the South Carolina State Guard and promised to continue work to find veterans jobs.

“I can combine my love of public service as well as my love of South Carolina — I'm going to do that at the best agency,” Floyd said at the news conference Thursday during which the governor announced his nomination.

The Senate will have to approve Floyd's nomination, but he was the only applicant and the screening committee had no problems with his nomination.

Floyd takes over at what could be a transformation point for the Department of Employment and Workforce.

The South Carolina House this week passed a bill that sponsors say will help get more people into the workforce. Sponsors said it will help alleviate traditional problems people have with keeping a job like access to child care or transportation.

The proposal will also create a department in the agency and a council of business, university, education and government leaders to oversee a unified plan to help the state continue its economic growth.

Current director Dan Ellzey is retiring after four years, including leading the agency through the spike in unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said McMaster couldn't have made a better pick, because Floyd is smart, hard working and honest.

“Those are the characteristics you want in someone that is going to run a state agency. And that's exactly what we need — I guess they need — at the department,” Ellzey said.