Local employers working to line up next generation of workers

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Caroline Ireland is the third generation working for the family business.

Ireland Electric has been around for decades, but it’s grown at a rapid pace this past year.

The company has almost doubled the staff from last year, but still desperately needs more employees.

“We’re fortunate to have very talented people — over 100 employees,” Ireland said. “But then again, I’m still looking for 20-30 more just in the Augusta area.”

That’s why her company is one of the many ones participating in the Augusta Chamber’s “Students 2 Work” program.

Seventy Richmond County students are paired with local businesses for a paid summer internship.

“So they will have the opportunity to be in the process of pulling wires, installing fixtures” and more, Ireland said.

The goal is to get students ready for their career and give them a taste for different job paths.

Across town over at MAU Workforce Solutions, other employers were on the hunt Wednesday for qualified employees.

New high school graduates filed in to apply for jobs in manufacturing, one of many sectors dealing with an aging work force

According to EMSI, a labor force analytics company, half of the skilled trade workers in the U.S. were above age 45 back in 2018.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes the work force will only get smaller over the next 10 years as baby boomers age out of the profession.

“It is difficult, just with the younger generation being pushed toward four-year colleges,” Ireland said.

But employers say they’re grateful for programs like “Students 2 Work.”

“I hope that it continues to grow throughout not just Richmond County, but Columbia County, Waynesboro, etc.,” Ireland said.

Coming up

On Friday, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the managing and operating contractor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, will hold an information technology recruitment fair from noon to 7 p.m. June 10 at the North Augusta Municipal Building on the Palmetto Terrace. It’s aimed at recruiting for all IT disciplines but is especially targeted toward cyber security, software, network and system engineers. For more information, contact Bryan Ortner at or visit

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