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‘Our guys are working overtime’: Pee Dee businesses struggle to find workers; job fair in the works

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:27 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Like many businesses across South Carolina and the nation, businesses in the Pee Dee are having a hard time getting people to fill out a job application.

Altman Automotive is one of many Pee Dee businesses that’s struggling to find employees in recent months.

”We’re trying to keep up with the demand, and our guys are working overtime to try to keep up and get the customers’ cars out in a timely manner,” office manager Mary Ann Altman said.

Altman said they’ve got great mechanics, but their workload is overwhelming between their Lake City and Florence shops.

“Sometimes he [owner Donnie Altman] brings cars here because he doesn’t want to keep people waiting and if we get to swamped here we may send one to Lake City and he’ll take care of it there,” Altman said.

Altman said they’ve had the now hiring sign up for quite a while, but she hasn’t seen any applications come across her desk.

“You don’t want to say unemployment is part of the problem, but it is part of the problem,” Altman said.

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce hopes a job fair will help businesses like Altman Automotive find qualified employees.

“This is an opportunity for businesses to share the benefits, the advantages, the future you may have with the organization, it’s time for them to sell themselves and it’s a perfect place to make that happen,” Chamber President Mike Miller said.

Miller said 40 businesses are already expected to participate with more likely to sign up.

He said it’s their responsibility as a chamber to find solutions to help businesses and the workforce.

“That’s really the goal of all chambers of commerce is to keep commerce moving, and sometimes that comes down to motivating individuals or motivating businesses by bringing knowledge out there,” Miller said.

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and SC Works Pee Dee plan will hold a “Return to Work” job fair at the Florence Airport on Thursday, May 27.

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