U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said service groups like Goodwill Industries are positive examples of businesses with a specific mission to aid those most affected by the recession.
During an appearance Thursday at the agency's North Charleston Community Service Center, the congressman said Goodwill fills a hole by hiring and training workers who might otherwise be left without skills.
Goodwill employs about 1,100 people across nine local counties in South Carolina. It has plans to expand deeper into rural areas to provide both jobs and sale items over the next few years.
Clyburn, D-S.C., recently increased his advocacy of the so-called " 10-20-30" policy that calls on Washington to direct at least 10 percent of any recovery efforts into communities with 20 percent poverty rates for 30 years.
A close-to-home example, he said, is Orangeburg County, which despite having two interstate highways, an airport runway, railroads and colleges, falls into that category.
South Carolina especially needs to see job-creation investments, he said, because the former agricultural and industrial products of cotton, tobacco and textiles "are gone. They are in our past."
Older workers "grew up at a time when all they had to do is plant 75 acres of tobacco" to eke out a living, he said. But unless new training or private sector alternatives come in, the future for people raised on the old ways looks dire, he added.
"What do we do for them?" he asked. "What do we do for their children? Their grandchildren?"
Clyburn's tour of Goodwill covered the agency's job training and employment services for workers with disabilities or facing other employment hurdles.