October 26, 2005
For many job seekers, it was a chance to rebuild their lives. Hundreds turned out Wednesday for a job fair at the Aiken Mall. As News 12 reports, after thousands of recent lay-offs in Aiken County, Wednesday was a second chance.
The usually quiet Aiken Mall is packed. Every bench is filled with people shopping for a job.
“I’ve seen a lot of hopeful, a lot of hopeful people here,” said Jacqueline Wise.
Jacqueline Wise is hoping to meet her match. She was laid off with 1,000 others at Electrolux in Orangeburg.
“It feels very depressing, especially when you’ve been laid off without any reason,” Wise said.
That’s the feeling of so many in Aiken County. In the last few months, the Savannah River Site cut 2,000 jobs, Avondale Mills cut 350, SKF cut 250 and Components Manufacturing cut another 350. That’s almost 3,000 people out of a job.
Tom Rippon with Urban Outfitters in Trenton says the skills people gain at places like the Savannah River Site are a plus.
“Some of the people are just great. You can tell by talking to them that they’d just be great in the long term. They’d be a great fit for our company,” Rippon said.
With all the recent lay-offs, many of the job seekers here today are looking for more security and some of the companies say they can provide it.
With 50 years of history and a growing business, the Waffle House offers people stability.
“Waffle House has stepped in to let people know we have never had to lay off and we’re always looking for bright, energetic managers,” said Sherry Smith.
And words like those give Jacqueline a new attitude.
“Happy, especially with the holidays around the corner,” Wise said.
This job fair was organized by Aiken County’s One Stop, a place where the unemployed can go to find a job. They hope to make this an annual event. If you missed Wednesday’s event, you can go to One Stop on weekdays from 8:30am-5pm. It’s on Richland Avenue in Aiken.
Click here for job searching information.