Hundreds turn out for United Way job fair in Florence

Project Hope job fair

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – About 600 people turned out for The United Way of Florence County job fair in Florence today.  Job seekers were able to meet 20 vendors looking to hire new workers.

Job fairs like the one held today at Florence-Darlington Technical College are just one thing that is helping drive the unemployment rate down in Florence County.  As of January 2013, the job rate for the county was 9.8 percent.  That is higher than the national average but it is down one percent from the 10.8 percent in January 2012.

Project H.O.P.E. sponsored the job fair, the group aims to train people for new careers and helps place them in new jobs in the Pee Dee.  The program's director, Les Echols, said more businesses see Florence as a great opportunity to grow and expand.

"It's a very attractive area," Echols said.  "Industries have been coming and seeing what Florence county offers them and they've been bringing those jobs to Florence County."

That is good news for Kevin Gregory, who has been looking for work since the insurance company he worked for shut down its branch several months ago.

"I'm basically looking and hopefully I'll get hired," Gregory said.

He moved to Florence because that is where the jobs are, Gregory added.

"Coming to Florence county was one of the closest places I could go for work."

Gregory said he is not surprised Florence County has one of the better unemployment rates in South Carolina, especially when he saw companies at today's job fair looking for multiple workers.

"I mean with this you see a lot of businesses out there looking to hire," Gregory said.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.