Message from Secretary Hitt: Key Partnerships in S.C.

Advancing applied research and innovation through partnerships is key to strengthening South Carolina's economy, creating jobs and being at the forefront of technology in the local, state and global business communities.

With that in mind, the South Carolina Department of Commerce is pleased to be partnering with the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness (The Council) and the Fraunhofer USA Center for Experimental Software Engineering CESE in Maryland to launch the South Carolina Fraunhofer USA Alliance (SCFUSA).

The SCFUSA is a collaborative effort to coordinate and develop applied research at S.C. universities and research institutions that directly impacts companies' competitiveness, efficiency and the overall economy of S.C.

This new partnership with the prestigious Fraunhofer network, based in Germany, gives South Carolina a unique advantage by introducing a model to bring the state's universities into the problem-solving needs of our companies. Currently, several pilot programs are underway at schools including the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and Francis Marion University.

Employment in the state's technology industry expanded by more than 4,000 jobs in 2018, representing the 7th highest year-over-year net employment growth in the U.S. Partnerships like this will continue to build on that momentum and help businesses maintain their competitive edge.

Moving forward, South Carolina will benefit tremendously from the creation of the SCFUSA. It will reinforce our reputation as a business-friendly state that supports advanced research.