How could you not be moved by the picture on the front of the Statesboro Herald last Thursday showing the massive number of people waiting patiently to apply for a job with Great Dane.
More than 3,500 people stood in line at Ogeechee Tech hoping to get one of the 400 jobs being offered by the company as it begins the process of staffing its new plant scheduled to open this March in Bulloch County's Gateway Industrial Park.
Mel Wages is a member of the Georgia Department of Labor Workforce Solutions Team that conducted the hiring fair for the company. He said it was one of the largest hiring events in the state this year.
"I have seen that many people before, but it has been at a job fair in which several companies had positions to fill," he said. "The last time I saw this many people seeking jobs with just one company was several, several years ago when the Ford plant in Hapeville, Georgia was hiring."
Wages said he was on his feet from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. working with applicants. "We stayed until the very last applicant was processed," he said. "We promised folks that we would do that, and that is what we did."
Wages said he feels that two key factors played into the "record" turnout.
"First, we did advertise the event throughout southeast Georgia," he said. "Also, Great Dane is offering good paying, solid jobs, with very good benefits. Those type of jobs are not easy to come by right now."
Even though I wasn't in Statesboro last Thursday, I did speak with a friend of mine that works with Ogeechee Tech, and she told me about the huge crowd that had gathered requiring an "all hands on deck" approach.
I knew right then that the job situation was worse than it appears, and was reminded of that many times throughout the day as those working around me reported how long their spouses, children, and friends had been standing in line at that very event.
You could see it in their faces, and hear it in their voices - they were praying for their loved ones to be one of the 10 percent or so of applicants to get one of the coveted jobs.
A very sobering reminder of what so many families are going through right now.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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