Welcome – Terence Roberts
Clemson University Update – Kyra Lobbins, Deputy Chief of Staff
- Clemson is in a good place—will get through this. Clemson went into the pandemic ahead of the curve and will come out ahead of the curve.
- Brought students back from study abroad early
- Business continuity plan in place that’s been worked on over the last 4 years in case of a major issue that disrupted campus operations.
- EOC—emergency operations committee meeting every work day for the past 2 months
- End of semester and summer programs: final 1/3 of semester has been completely online. April 24 was final day of classes
- Students from different backgrounds: rural, limited wi-fi. Sent laptops and hotspots to rural areas
- Summer 2020 instruction moved online, study abroad canceled, summer camps canceled. New student orientation will be virtual
- No traditional commencement, but hope to have on-campus graduation either later in the summer or in the fall when classes resume.
- Refunded $15 million in student fees—housing, dining, etc.
- Role in supporting Oconee tornado—pivoted to look for ways to help: facilities crew did tree cleanup, Clemson FD responded to emergency calls and contributed to search & rescue efforts, 60 employees volunteered in Seneca
- Clemson faculty supporting COVID-19 research: adjusted research operations in 3 ways:
- To preserve the health of faculty and employees
- Work to preserve essential research function to the extent possible
- Alternative research functioning: several faculty are working with MUSC and Prisma to help come up with ways to improve testing for COVID-19
- Strategy for 2020 school year? Phased opening approach from now until then, with faculty and staff returning in a tiered approach, weeks at a time. Plan will be based on science and recommendations for student safety, but the focus is on being able to resume classes in the fall.
- Freeze tuition/fees for next year; housing/dining fees will be decided on soon. Hiring freeze in place, hoping to avoid furloughs.
- Hotel/conference center closed; golf course, botanical garden and experimental forest opening up May 1
- Football—many options on the table: football season moved to January? Only regional? No fans? Only 8 games?
Federal Update – Jeff Duncan, SC- District 3 Representative
- Approach to COVID-19 similar to national COVID task force, delegated across 16 employees that serve 3rd congressional district.
- Voted for $2 trillion in spending for rapid restart to economy. Supported CARES Act, and PPP.
- More than $587,000 loans totaling to over $43B have been approved for lenders with less than $10B in assets (smaller banks). Lenders with between $10 and $50B in assets (medium banks) have been approved for more than 206,000 loans totaling $20B. Lenders with greater than $50B in assets have been approved for 167,000 totalling over $25B dollars.
- Set up in 7-10 days, some glitches where portal froze. Portal closed yesterday for a time so small businesses could access loans.
- Making many calls to constituents, small business owners and chambers to see how staff can help.
- If a bonafide letter of rehiring has been issued and employee chooses to stay home, no access to $600 unemployment bump.
Q&A from call:
- Is there consideration for expanding WYOA funding to states? SC saw significant reduction in adult, youth, and dislocated worker funding. Staff member will reply. Duncan believes money will trickle down to states.
- How will we pay for debt? Duncan not for tax increases, would like to address federal spending. Delve into mandatory spending program, tariffs, punitive measures toward China.
- Will 501c6 organizations be included in future funding efforts? Reached out to Ways and Means Committee, possibly in a third traunch of money. Not planning to changing classification, but add to future legislation.
- Do you advocate reduction in social security, Medicare or are there other programs to reduce? No, but changes might be made for future beneficiaries under 50 years old now. Might look at SNAP and WIC and housing due to $26T in debt. Every topic on the table. Congress will ensure it does not impact certain populations.
Greenwood & Abbeville – Marisel Losa, United Way of Greenwood & Abbeville
- Greenwood Emergency Response Committee trying to connect people to resources
- COVID-19 resource page
- Community needs survey—trying to provide services to meet those needs
- Mental health is “2nd wave” need—pilot project, Credible Mind
- Looking for funding opportunities—local funding as well as OneSC statewide funding
- Volunteer platform
Anderson – Teri Gilstrap, Anderson County Economic Development
- Seven days a week, contacting the municipalities and emergency responders
- Industries continue to operate, continue to hire
- Sheriff department reports a significant decrease in crime, although domestic disturbances are an issue
- On the economic development front, projects that were begun pre-COVID are continuing
- Surveying existing industry, report weekly impact results
- Lack of childcare being addressed for essential industries
Greenville – Sara Montero, Hispanic Alliance
- All staff working remotely
- Initial focus on marketing/communication—translation to get information into Spanish
- Focus has switched to financial/food needs
- Lots of links with further information in guest post on the Staying on Top blog
Other counties are providing a positive update and community challenge shared by Sharon Purvis
- Hannah Jarrett, director of financial stability strategy, United Way of the Piedmont (for Spartanburg, Union, and Cherokee Counties):
Encouraging: We applied for and received funding for food/shelter from the One SC Fund. This funding will be distributed to nonprofit partners providing food/shelter in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties. Most nonprofit recipients have been notified this week.
UWP is convening regular calls with the nonprofit community. We are encouraged by the collaboration, coordination, and creativity of the nonprofit community to address the unique needs of our community during COVID-19.
Challenges: Pantries are struggling to keep their shelves stocked, mostly related to supply chain issues. Organizations in all three counties have not been able to make bulk purchases to stock their shelves. Stores aren’t letting this happen and volume is an issue. We have brought a group together to discuss making a group bulk purchase but also engaging local farmers to bulk purchase from them, because they are having challenges of their own.
There is concern about the moratorium of evictions being lifted tomorrow. We anticipate an influx of need and requests over the next couple of weeks related to this – with abnormally high bills from people who’ve had to skip payments due to financial hardship. We encourage people who have been impacted by COVID-19 to call 2-1-1 to be connected to resources, organizations, and financial assistance.
- Jon Caime, Laurens County Administrator:
Encouraging: “I’m encouraged by a lot of things. Laurens is going to propel forward coming out of this.” There is growth in the northern part of the county, growth along the interstate, and a new spec building outside of Grey Court. The industrial base is strong.
Challenging: The biggest challenge is the unknown. “My number one concern, speaking economically, is figuring out how to open up. I’m concerned about the effects on our small businesses.”
- Dave Eldredge for Oconee County:
Encouraging: As all know, we had a severe tornado that almost leveled Borg Warner factory that employs 900+ employees as well as residential areas.. Its amazing to see the progress being made to get it repaired and open again. The BW HR staff is operating out of our Oconee Economic Alliance office.
From small business area: Encouraging thing, my clients realize this is a new world and they have to have better emergency plans…
Challenging thing, a number of small firms and maybe nonprofits as well will definitely not survive
Entrepreneur Ecosystem – Erin Ouzts, Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem
- UEE finished fifth webinar on mental health (past webinar information here)
- Upcoming webinar with Clemson economist Scott Baier, who will talk about leading/lagging indicators as we move forward (register here)
- Last webinar on May 12th before the quarterly workshop on June 25th
Adjourn Terence Roberts