Shanice Cunningham and Tyrell Lewis are both new to the job search process. In fact, Tuesday’s Midlands Job Fair at the Bluff Road National Guard Armory was the first event of this type for both jobseekers.
“I have one year left before getting my HVAC certificate from Fortis College, and I’m just trying to get some related experience under my belt before graduating,” Lewis said.
Cunningham, who is currently employed, is looking for a new opportunity in the customer service industry.
And with more than 62 employers with open positions, there were plenty of opportunities to go around.
“I came out today for Aflac, Allsouth and TD Bank,” Cunningham said.
Each company the two spoke to provided a good bit of information about their hiring process and also took time to hear from each of jobseeker about their qualifications.
“I spoke with every employer I came here to see, and I definitely feel more hopeful than when I came in,” added Lewis.
Columbia Fire Department was among the employers taking applications.
“We’re trying to fill between 20 and 25 probationary fire fighter positions by December,” said Captain James Bostic.
Less than two hours into the event, more than 50 jobseekers had filled out applications for the openings.
“We often partner with SC Works to get involved in events like this,” he explained. “The turnout is always great.”
The starting salary for probationary fire fighters is $31,000 and you begin getting paid immediately upon hire.
“We test in November, hire in December and the recruitment class starts in January, so it’s a fairly fast process,” said Captain Bostic.
Visit columbiarichlandfire.net for more information on how to apply.
Gary Brazell is at a different stage in his job search process. Having been unemployed for about four months and with more than 15 years of commercial driving experience under his belt, he is looking for a fresh start and a new career.
“I walked into the SC Works center downtown not knowing if anyone could help me because I’m not on unemployment benefits,” he explained, “but soon enough I was sitting down with a case manager and told about several options for a new career path.”
Brazell is in the beginning stages of Workforce Investment Act Program and has already met with Midlands Technical College about his prospective career path.
“The next step is to pass the WorkKeys test and then hopefully enroll in an Information Technology program,” he explained.
But at yesterday’s job fair, he was looking for just about anything to fill the gap of employment until he updated his skill sets.
“Even before I was a driver, I had a lot of experience in various industries, but employers nowadays want you to be up-to-date and have that recent experience,” he said.
“I’m just getting started here, but I’m hopeful about the opportunities available to me.”
Want to learn about upcoming job fairs in your area? Visit dew.sc.gov/jobfairs and follow @SCWorksinfo on Twitter.