Hundreds of jobless or under-employed Floyd County residents showed up Wednesday for a Skills to Jobs event hosted by the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce.
Georgia Department of Labor statistics claim 10.1 percent of Floyd County residents are unemployed. The Georgia Department of Labor reports 4,750 Floyd residents were unemployed in April, and if that’s the case, well more than 10 percent of them may have waited through the long line at the event.
It was supposed to begin at 3 p.m. but the doors to the Civic Center were opened 15 minutes early because of the heat and a long line that had already begun to snake through the parking lot.
“This far exceeded my expectations,” said Ken Wright, director of business and industry services at the Chamber. “It’s crazy, way beyond expectations.”
Wright said personnel had to go back to the Chamber before the official opening time to get more job assessment forms for the throng that turned out for the event.
While not yet ready to hire, Diane Lewis, chairwoman of the Greater Rome Existing Industries Association, confirmed that her firm, Lewis Chemical Co., located at 8 N. Sycamore St., is expanding.
“We’re adding a second facility, the former JEM Sales building off Lavender Drive,” Lewis said.
She said the company is still in the process of working out permits for renovation of the building, which was a part of the old Zartic-Pierre Foods complex. Equipment has been ordered in anticipation of moving into the building as early as September.
She said she expects the company would add another 10-15 jobs when the new facility opens.
Stephen Evans, a Roman electrician who was among the last let go from the old Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital in July of 2011, has been out of work for 11 months.
“I’ve been hacking at it every day, four resumes a day,” Evans said.
Almost incredibly, he said most employers have told him he is over-qualified.
“Basically, they’re saying I’m too old I guess,” said Evans.
Charles Hill of Rome said he’s been out of work for about five months. His last job was at Steel-King, working through a staffing company. He said he was looking for just about anything.
“You can’t be so specific about jobs right now, you’ve just got to take what you can get,” Hill said.
Fredrick Stallings, a representative of Georgia Power, said the utility is looking for good candidates for a variety of positions.
“It doesn’t really matter what skill set because we do a lot of training on our own,” Stallings said. “We’re looking for good, dependable employees who are willing to work and not be afraid to move around.”
Stallings said Georgia Power was distributing packets that would enable individuals to seek positions in either the generation or transmission sides of the company.
Tanya Colding, who is from Armuchee, has been without a job for almost three years. She’s been back to school for a career as a surgical technician or certified nursing assistant.
“I’ve called Floyd hospital every day,” Colding said. “I’ve put in 13 applications there, but I’m not just limiting myself, I’ve done a little bit of everything.”
Georgia Power, F&P Georgia, OTR Wheel, Marglen Industries, Neaton Rome, International Paper (formerly Inland Rome) and American Pipe Supports all had representatives at the Civic Center to meet with job seekers.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Shorter University and Georgia Highlands College officials were also on hand to discuss specialized education and job training opportunities at their institutions.