Originally created 03/01/01

UPS plans hiring schedule



Details are slowly becoming available for area residents eager to snag one of well over 500 UPS jobs coming to Aiken.

UPS Customhouse Brokerage Inc., the Louisville, Ky.-based division of United Parcel Service, is adding a massive service center to a vacant spot inside south Aiken's Centennial Corporate Center.

UPS will announce available positions in advertisements running sometime during the next two weeks, said Fred Humes, the director of the Economic Development Partnership of Aiken and Edgefield counties.

Information also will be available through an employment hot line at (888) 967-5877 and a Web site at www.upsjobs.com. Interviews would begin later in the month.

Mr. Humes, whose agency helped bring the company to Aiken, is acting as the company's local liaison. He gave a loose schedule detailing the company's tentative hiring time line.

"There are all kind of dates," he said.

By the end of March, job offers will be made to the first "class," or grouping, of 15 to 20 people. Orientation will occur the second week of April, training the third and actual work in early June.

Hiring for subsequent classes will be staggered in this manner until the end of the year.

UPS has said the $8 million distribution center will employ 542 workers at full operation. The labor force will require specialized training because of the nature of the work - processing border-crossing packages for the U.S. Customs Service and other government agencies.

UPS previously hired third-party companies to perform the service.

Although the South Carolina Employment Security Commission will have the latest information on UPS hiring as it arises, the employment agency's Aiken-area director, Charlie Haneman, said the commission has not been asked to take an active role in the process.

"I'm flabbergasted," he said. "Most all the major industry that comes through the Aiken area uses us. We've been established for years."

Regardless, he said, "We'll support them in any way we can."

UPS Customhouse spokesman Mark Dickens said his company once worked through government employment agencies but has since grown large enough to handle recruiting internally. The company has 18,000 employees in Louisville alone.

He said the company has received "literally tens of thousands of resumes" from the Augusta-Aiken area since announcing the project last month.

"We're just trying to get up on our feet (in Aiken). We've been inundated with vendors trying to sell us carpeting to light bulbs and everything in between," he said.

Reach Eric Williamson at (706) 828-3904.