AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It was a very busy Friday at the Kroc Center in Augusta as hundreds of people looked for a new start at a City of Augusta job fair.
“Looking for a job and I’m really energetic. And I really want to work in the restaurant field, because I enjoy serving people,” said Jeanne Thomas.
The latest data from the Department of Labor Statistics shows Augusta’s unemployment rate is 3.7% which is far better than the national average, 5.8%. But workers are needed at Augusta businesses and local government agencies.
Leah Smith with Select Specialty Hospital said, “We’re looking for people. Whether that’s nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nursing assistants, dietary aids, we are across the board looking to add and build our team.”
“Job fairs like these are a great way to get out here and do that,” said Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant William McCarty.
About 60 companies and other businesses attended the job fair recruiting candidates.
“Working with us at Select in Augusta is a vibe. You’re only going to go one place and get Leah so come on down and let us treat you well,” encouraged Smith.
Thomas said, “I’m going to check out Sole, downtown Augusta. I have good vibes about that restaurant.”
Many recruiters at the job fair said they are feeling the pinch of the worker shortage due to the pandemic. It’s been a challenge to find qualified candidates for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office according to Sergeant McCarty, but efforts continue.
He said, “We’ve had quite a few people come through here and we’ve spoken to a lot of people. Overall, we feel that these events are a success and we’ve actually gotten some good quality candidates for us to look at.”
Richmond County’s Solicitor General Omeeka Loggins was at the job fair to inform everybody about the recent changes in Georgia record restriction laws, which could affect somebody’s job status. She said there will be a summit event in October.
She added, “If we get people back to work, if we get them back on the right track, then we’re hoping they won’t fall back into a life of crime and making bad decisions. Especially coming out of COVID, we’re hoping people realize that having a job is important.”
“We’re paying extremely competitive in our area. I put us up against any hospital that’s around us,” said Smith.
McCarty said, “These officers, especially the ones on the street, you can never pay them enough but we have to remain steady. And we have to keep the salary starting officers not only competitive, but we really have to maintain and give incentives to keep people on.”
Here are some helpful links to find a job: