Originally created 09/23/05

Displaced workers visiting expo's job fair



With her hometown in jeopardy from another monster storm, Melissa Joseph of New Orleans has decided to make a fresh start in the Augusta area.

On Thursday, she attended the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce's annual business expo at the North Augusta Community Center.

"I'm looking at a job at Waffle House. Most of their managers are female," Ms. Joseph said.

The job fair was a new component to the expo.

"We wanted to serve our community in a new light," Chamber President Victoria Hann said.

More than 60 vendors, including the City of Aiken, MAU and Kelly Services, attended the expo and job fair. Large companies, such as Comcast, Wachovia and Regions Bank, attended, as did locally owned small businesses.

More than a dozen vendors were there strictly for the job fair.

"The response has been very good," said Ernestine Johnson, the area director of the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.

Ms. Joseph said the overall event was good, though she wished there could have been more employers.

"It was a diverse thing - food, education, sales. It hit every segment," she said.

Jeff Siler was another displaced worker in search of better opportunities. Mr. Siler was laid off from Savannah River Site in July. He was trying to drum up business for his new venture, DTEC, a graphic design and video production company.

"I'm looking and seeing if any of the businesses might need my services," he said.

David Stacks, who owns Great Phone Service!, said the expo was a good way to meet people who might one day become customers.

"It's a way of meeting people and of breaking the ice," he said.