Florence, S.C. – On Wednesday, February 15, over 500 individuals attended the Project H.O.P.E. Job & Resource Fair held at the SiMT on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Job seekers were able to interact with representatives from business and industry from all over the Pee Dee. “We were very happy about the number of potential employees we met at the job fair,” said Lisa Peterson, Business Administration Coordinator at Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. “Advertising new positions costs us so much money. The job fair was an easy way for us to meet a lot of good candidates at once. It was well worth our time and effort.”
The fair opened with inspiring words for the local unemployed supplied by Frank “Buddy” Brand II representing the City of Florence as Mayor Pro Tem, Jill Heiden of Florence-Darlington Tech and Steve Ewart of Johnson Controls. Each shared a vision of hope for the future of Florence County, referencing the dropping unemployment rate, establishment of new industry in the area, and the existence of programs like Project H.O.P.E. that want to make a difference. Les Echols, Director of Project H.O.P.E. shared with the audience his own story of struggling with unemployment. “Six years ago, I knew a man who did not have a job,” said Les. “Who had to get up every morning, put on his tie and hit the pavement because he knew he had to provide for his family. I know how difficult it can be because that man was me. I’m here to tell you that it will get better.”
Project H.O.P.E. representatives as well as representatives from United Way 2-1-1, the Benefit Bank and Goodwill were available during the job fair to discuss social service resources available to job seekers throughout the year. Job fair attendees also benefitted from two break-out sessions during the job fair. JoAnn McPherson of Florence School District 1 began with a presentation on “Interview Tips” followed by a presentation on “Workplace Professionalism” given by Tavy Smalls of McLeod Health.
“We are very happy with the turn-out for the job fair and are thankful to all the companies who came out,” said EJ Newby, President of United Way of Florence County. “I’ve spoken with several of the employers, and they are already lining up interviews with people they met at the job fair.”
For more information on Project H.O.P.E. or to learn how to get involved, visit www.uwflorence.org or contact the United Way of Florence County at 843-662-2407.
About Project H.O.P.E.
Project H.O.P.E. launched in August 2011 with funding from the Johnson Controls Foundation and support from the United Way of Florence County. H.O.P.E. stands for “Helping Our People gain Employment,” and aims to coordinate job training services and facilitate job placement in the Pee Dee region. This long-term, community-wide project serves the unemployed and underemployed by identifying their skills and matching them with employer needs, as well as rallying financial and volunteer support for job training services. Project H.O.P.E. simultaneously serves employers by promoting a better screened and trained talent pool ready for available positions.