People looking for jobs and companies seeking skilled employees will find solutions in a new website that serves as a portal to more than 50 companies with connections in the Lowcountry.

Designed by the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, LowcountryWorks.com has already received attention, said David Nelems, DRCI executive director.

“The site has received about 700 visits since we launched on May 19,” he said. “We have not really promoted it yet – that begins this month.”

When the portal was launched, Nelems said DRCI had populated the site with 30 businesses. Now it offers a one-stop connection to 56 companies covering aerospace, creative organizations, light manufacturing, medical, technical products and technical services.

Those diverse companies include Cera Products Inc., ARxChange, BFG Communications, Gulfstream Aerospace, Parker Hannifin, Rockwell Collins and Solstas Lab Partners Group, LLC.

“We were very surprised and encouraged with the diversity of companies in the region,” Nelems said. “We did not expect so many different types of companies to be here. There are some major organizations that have a presence in the region – even if it is just a small presence.”

Nelems said LowcountryWorks serves job seekers by giving them a direct conduit to employment opportunities.

“This site is very different from a traditional jobs board and that is intentional. When you apply for a job, you do it directly with the hiring company. You do not fill out any forms on our site – we send you right to the source,” Nelems said.

“We want the site, just like the DRCI, to be viewed as a resource for Bluffton and the surrounding region,” Nelems said. “Our first duty is to the companies in the DRCI, but we offer help to people outside of that small group as well.”

The site is also more than a jobs resource for potential employees. Nelems said another facet was showcasing the diverse companies located in the area.

“We think people will be excited by the types of companies that are here. We feel that this aspect of the site is one of economic development. When other companies are thinking about locating in the area, they can look at this site and see who else is here,” said Nelems. “They will see that we have a diverse and increasing group of high knowledge, high impact and innovative companies here.”

The Hilton Head Economic Development Corporation and the area chambers of commerce all have free access to the site. “We hope they all see the benefit and begin to refer their member companies to it,” Nelems said.

Nelems said the DRCI would like to see the number of companies listed on the site increase to about 100, with most of them offering hiring opportunities.

One of the companies that is now hiring is ARxChange, based on Hilton Head Island, a national healthcare accounts receivable financial exchange. “The value to companies throughout the Lowcountry, whether established or new, is that it provides a central source to find top talent that ultimately will help us grow, and as importantly, increase the economic base for the area,” said Jim Zadoorian, Ph.D., president.

Bluffton Town Manager Marc Orlando also sees the site as an important cog in the wheel of economic development in the region. “As another tool in the Town’s economic development initiatives, the LowcountryWorks website gives prospective companies, employers and job seekers a snapshot of the diverse industries represented in Bluffton and our region,” Orlando said. “This profile helps companies assess potential business partners as well as evaluate the cross-section of skill sets represented in our workforce.”

Gwyneth J. Saunders is a veteran journalist and freelance writer living in Bluffton.