James Brown Arena filled with SRS job seekers

Job seekers won't need an engineering degree to land some of the latest job openings at Savannah River Site.


“We're finally getting to the point where we can hire local folks who don't necessarily have a lot of experience,” said Dennis Trout, president of Value Added Solutions Inc., one of 13 subcontractors hiring for the stimulus package funded jobs at SRS. “Now that we have more requisitions for folks that don't necessarily require the higher level degrees, we feel these job fairs are becoming more important for the local community. We get more folks that are qualified for the positions at the job fairs now than we did when they first started,” he said.

Aiken-based Value Added Solutions Inc. is hiring for about 1,000 professional and general employment positions, including waste remediation technicians, material handlers and maintenance mechanics, said CEO Brenda Mikkola.

It is one of the companies present at today's job fair at James Brown Arena, the fifth job fair for the temporary SRS jobs. The Augusta event started with more than 1,200 people in line and drew an estimated 3,000 people when it concluded.

The company is also hiring for operations specialists and office support personnel. The requirements for an operations specialist, for instance, are a high school degree, industrial work experience and possibly heavy equipment operation, Ms. Mikkola said.

In addition, SRS is also hiring for specialized positions such as engineering and IT jobs, she said.

“We're hiring continuously. We're hiring folks right now,” Mr. Trout said. “As a matter of fact, we're preparing at this job fair to make offers. That doesn't mean they'll be hired, but if we see candidates who meet our requirements, we're going to try to negotiate an offer with them on the spot here today.”

Value Added Solutions Inc. will then forward the candidate's resume to SRS for final evaluation, he said.

Career Personnel is hiring for clerical, administrative support and forklift positions, said assistant operations manager Kristin Bodkin.

Positions include general clerks, mail couriers, general laborers, forklift operators and maintenance mechanics. The company has 120 to 150 openings, she said.

“We anticipate more, but we don't know how many more. They start out as one year contracts and can be extended through the 30 months, which is September 2011,” Ms. Bodkin said.

Lajeanna Stevenson has been looking for a job since September.

The 29-year-old worked as a program manager at Georgia Psychological Services on Columbia Road before it closed due to state budget cuts, she said.

Ms. Stevenson has landed several interviews, but she has been told that she is overqualified, she said.

“It was very helpful. They thoroughly explained everything, and it was very well organized,” Ms. Stevenson said.

She found two positions that fit her qualifications and was instructed to look for additional job postings online, she said.

Prior to the fair, representatives of the Engery Deaprtment and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions held a one-hour town hall meeting to explain how it is spending $1.6 billion.

The fair had originally been planned for Paine College. But organizers say they changed it to a larger venue because of increased interest in the jobs.

More than 2,000 people have attended each fair, which have been held in Aiken, Allendale, S.C., Columbia, S.C., and Barnwell, S.C.



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