In This Issue: Lowcountry business owners describe post-Dorian frustrations in first-ever ‘Resilience Assessment’ … Phone companies settle with SC governments over unpaid 911 call center taxes, but many agreements remain secret … Anderson University builds expertise to offer degree in cybersecurity … Gov. McMaster proposes $3,000 raise for state’s 53,000 school teachers … Von Nessen describes positive economic growth in SC forecast for 2020.

Lowcountry Business Owners Describe Post-Dorian Frustrations in First-Ever ‘Resilience Assessment’

A research director of a survey sent to Charleston-area businesses 11 days after Hurricane Dorian brushed South Carolina’s coastline summed up the results as “frustration just bleeds through,” as the business community recuperated from shutdowns and mandatory evacuations for the fifth year in a row. The “Tri-County Resilience Assessment” from the College of Charleston’s Riley Center for Livable Communities, partnered with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston Resilience Network, was a first-ever attempt to gauge how groups dealt with the disruption of a hurricane that threatens but does not hit the South Carolina coast. Because of Dorian, one respondent’s company that lost four days of production made up for inventory losses by depending on employees to work weekend overtime shifts for about a month. Evacuation lane reversals were cited as a “logistics nightmare” by one respondent, and about 13% of those polled said severe weather was weighing on them as an option to relocate at least a portion of their operations. The survey’s respondents from 395 groups were all members of the Charleston Metro Chamber, which provided the contact list and the 545 usable responses represented around 10% of those who received the survey. About 70% of respondents said their workplace has a written disaster response plan, but the majority of responders had never heard of the public-private partnership of the Charleston Resilience Network, with 4% saying they were “aware and familiar with” the group’s work linked to ongoing coastal problems and disaster preparedness. (Post and Courier)

Phone Companies Settle with SC Governments Over Unpaid 911 Call Center Taxes, But Many Agreements Remain Secret

Three South Carolina counties and the town of Summerville have settled lawsuits with a group of telecommunications companies to recover tax revenue owed to fund 911 call centers, but many of the details and dollar amounts have not been revealed due to confidentiality agreements. In October and November, the Dorchester County Council voted on settlement amounts with AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink and Comcast after discussing the lawsuits in executive session, and settlements of about $392,500 were reached that will be shared with Summerville. Officials for Charleston and Richland counties are still sorting through what they can reveal through open records requests. Three federal lawsuits over the past three years accuse more than a dozen telecommunications companies of underpaying the 50-cent surcharge per phone line they are required to remit to local governments to support 911 call centers. (Post and Courier)

Anderson University Builds Expertise to Offer Degree in Cybersecurity

Anderson University will offer a traditional degree in cybersecurity when it opens its Center for Cybersecurity in the fall semester of 2020. The private Upstate university with an enrollment of 2,700 will offer courses on ethical hacking, digital forensics, cloud security and cyber threat intelligence. Interdisciplinary majors can be paired with criminal justice, mathematics and analytics. The center will also offer a cybersecurity minor and a non-degreed professional certificate. The program’s leader has more than two decades of computer security experience, including a role in the United States Air Force and cybersecurity program development at Tampa University. The school is now hiring qualified cybersecurity faculty and building an advisory board of industry professionals. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs for information security analysts are expected to grow 32% by 2028. (GSA Business Report)

Gov. McMaster Proposes $3,000 Raise for State’s 53,000 School Teachers

For next year’s state budget, Gov. Henry McMaster proposed a $3,000 raise for all of South Carolina nearly 53,000 teachers, a pledge that would require $211 million and raise the state’s minimum teacher salary to $38,000. The nation’s average annual salary for teachers is roughly above $60,000. McMaster, citing data from the National Education Association, said the raise would lift the state’s average teacher salary into the nation’s top 25 and be about $2,500 above the average in other Southeastern states. Economists estimate that next year’s budget will increase by $1.8 billion, including $800 million in recurring tax collections and fees. (The Associated Press)

Von Nessen Describes Positive Economic Growth in SC Forecast for 2020

Research economist Joseph Von Nessen described South Carolina’s 2019 economy as “resilient” amid “the best labor market in a generation” as he spoke to the audience of the 39th annual Economic Outlook Conference held at USC’s Darla Moore School of Business. “We haven’t escaped the economic headwinds unscathed. So South Carolina has seen slower growth in 2019 overall, and we expect that to continue into 2020. Slower growth, but positive growth. We do not see a recession in 2020, although a recession’s more likely than it was a year ago because slower growth means we are more vulnerable to any shock.” (Columbia Regional Business Report)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Our cybersecurity majors will give students the ability to serve and protect people and resources in cyberspace. We are not only including technical cybersecurity courses in the programs, but we are also including courses like risk management and regulatory compliance. Cybersecurity is not just a technology problem. You also have to address issues regarding people in the workplace.”

Ken Knapp, who will lead Anderson University’s Center for Cybersecurity, slated to open in 2020