SRS job fair draws over 2,000 to Barnwell

BARNWELL, S.C. --- Job seekers formed a line that stretched around a school building Wednesday.

More than 2,000 people flocked to a Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC job fair, said Paivi Nettamo, a public affairs representative for the Recovery Act Project.

Among them was Danielle Elliott, 26, of Aiken, who was recently laid off from her job in administrative accounting in Beech Island. She learned that Career Personnel, one of 13 subcontractors present, should start calling job applicants next week.

"I've put in ... resumes and applications online and not a lot of people are hiring these days because of the economy. Hopefully, I'll get some luck," Ms. Elliott said.

Kaisha McCaskell, 29, of Bamberg, S.C., was looking for work. She has been unemployed for more than a year. She said that her job search has been difficult and many of the industrial plants where she worked have closed.

Ms. McCaskell said so many people were there that employers didn't have time to go in-depth about openings.

"We estimate having approximately 3,000 jobs allocated for the project work between now and 2011," said Clif Webb, the director of public affairs for the Recovery Act Project.

The openings include 800 jobs reallocated from Savannah River Site. Five hundred workers have been hired since April, he said, which leaves 1,700 positions made available by more than $1.6 billion in funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has already received 8,000 applications, Ms. Nettamo said.

The company will hold a job fair in Allendale, S.C., on Wednesday and job fairs in Augusta and Aiken in July. Jobs are open for nuclear engineers and physicists, construction and general employment. They will assist in expediting nuclear waste removal at SRS and are temporarily hired for the project, Mr. Webb said.

Steven Jouburt, 55, of Hephzibah, a retired Army instructor, came seeking an opportunity to make more money. He has been working as a substitute teacher for Richmond County.

"I didn't really know what they had," he said. "I've collected the samples of paperwork and will go online to see what will fit."

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.

DON'T MISS THE NEXT ONE

WHAT: Savannah River Site job fair

WHEN: 1-3 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: USC Salkehatchie, West Campus; Conference Center, 465 James Brandt Blvd., Allendale, S.C.

NOTE: An SRS town hall meeting will be held at noon before the job fair.