By Charles Warner
UNION — They had different reasons for doing so but 35 people took advantage of the opportunity to get a “Preferred Pass” to Thursday’s Union County Industry Job Fair.
The Union County Industry Job Fair was held Thursday at the Union County Advanced Technology Center. The event, which was sponsored by the technology center, SCWorks, and the Union County Economic Development Board, was different from other job fairs in that it provided on-site interview opportunities between job-seekers and the participating companies.
While scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., the job fair actually began at 1 p.m. for the holders of the “Preferred Pass.” The passes enabled those holding them to get into the job fair an hour earlier than the general public.
The passes were issued by SCWorks to those job-seekers who attended one of the two Preferred Pass Workshops held last Friday at the organization’s office on Main Street in downtown Union.
“We issued a total of 35 Preferred Passes,” SCWorks Center Manager Katherine Pendergrass said Thursday. “This is the first time we’ve had so many passes issued for Union.”
Pendergrass said those attending the workshops did so for a variety of employment-related reasons.
“Some of the people attending had just been terminated from their old jobs and were looking for a new job,” Pendergrass said. “Some said they were about to be terminated from the jobs they now have and were hoping to be hired by a new employer before that happened. Some people told us they work outside of the county and were looking to work closer to home and reduce their commute.”
Pendergrass said that not only did the passes give their holders the opportunity to get into the job fair an hour earlier, the workshops they took also provided them with extra pointers on how to make a great impression on
prospective employers. She pointed out that when a job-seeker has a Preferred Pass, it lets employers know they’ve gone the extra mile to attend a job fair, pointing out that she’s been told by employers at job fairs in Spartanburg and Gaffney that they were very impressed with the Preferred Pass job-seekers.
The goal of the Preferred Pass program is to to help job-seekers develop the skills they need to get and keep a job, especially what Pendergrass said are the “soft skills” including the ability to communicate, having a positive attitude, prompt attendance, flexibility, initiative, and time management. She said that she has been told by employers that if they an employee has those job skills, they can train them to do the job they hire them for.
A total of 10 businesses, industries and other local employers took part in Thursday’s job fair, but Pendergrass said that more wanted to once they learned of it.
“We’ve been having a lot of phone calls, there’s been several companies and staffing agencies who read or heard about this job fair and wanted to part of it,” Pendergrass said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to accommodate these later callers this time, but if they would like SCWorks to host a recruitment event for them in the future we would be happy to do that. They can reach me at 864-427-4119.”
Johnnie-Lynn Crosby, Regional Business Services Manager for SCWorks Upstate, takes a picture of “Preferred Pass” holder Lettie Johnson just prior to the start of the Union County Industry Job Fair Thursday afternoon. Johnson was one of 35 job-seekers in Union who were issued a Preferred Pass by the SCWorks Union office. The pass enabled the holders to get in to the job fair an hour earlier than the general public which was admitted beginning at 2 p.m. All job-seekers attending the job fair were given the opportunity to pose for a “selfie,” holding a sign with the word they felt best described them as an employee. Johnson chose the word dependable. Each job-seeker’s selfie could then be placed on Facebook or other social media. The job fair also provided a hashtag — #mfgjobsunion.sc. — that the job-seekers could use.
The SCWorks Union office issued a total of 35 Preferred Passes for Thursday’s Union County Industry Job Fair at the Union County Advanced Technology Center. The passes, which were issued to those who attended one of the two workshops offered by SCWorks last Friday, enabled those who had them to get in an hour earlier to the job fair which opened to the general public at 2 p.m. The 35 Preferred Passes were the largest number ever issued for a job fair in Union County.
The "Preferred Pass" holders wait in the conference room of the Union County Advanced Technology Center Thursday afternoon for the start of the Union County Industry Job Fair. Having a Preferred Pass enabled their holders to get in to the job fair an hour earlier than the general public. A total of 35 Preferred Passes were issued for Thursday’s job fair.