In the coming years, billions of dollars will be invested in South Carolina’s economy, with companies like BMW and Scout Motors vowing to bring in thousands of new jobs. On the heels of a record year for economic development, state leaders say their next focus is ensuring South Carolinians are ready to fill those positions. Last week, the House of Representatives passed the “Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act” in a bipartisan, 102-3 vote. Supporters say this legislation will streamline South Carolina’s workforce development efforts. The legislation would call for the development of a 10-year strategic plan to boost the state’s labor force participation rate, as nearly half of South Carolinians who are old enough and eligible to work are not employed or actively looking for a job. South Carolina’s rate is currently one of the lowest in the country and trails the national average.