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Heavy equipment operators, truck drivers in high demand at chamber's annual job fair
Trooper First Class 2 Hawk Parrish of the Georgia State Patrol chats with a Job Fair paricipant at Effingham College and Career Academy on April 25. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Mona Nims has been beating America's bushes in search of of truck drivers with a commercial driver's license.
The North Carolina-based recruiter for Argo, a ready-mix concrete company, has a difficult job.
"I'm afraid they are going to get rid of me because I can't find them," she said during the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Job Fair at Effingham College and Career Academy on April 25. "We are in definite need of drivers. They are very difficult to find and very difficult to hold on to."
Argo, which has several area plants, offers insurance and other benefits. One is the that all deliveries are local.
"They drivers are home everyday," Nims said. "There's no over-the-road jobs. We do have early mornings and late nights but they are home everyday."
Jackie Brannen-Tucker understands Nims' plight. She is having a hard time landing workers for Lineage, a cold storage facility in Effingham County formerly known as Flint River Services.
"We are all looking for the same people," Brannen-Tucker said. "There is no shortage of warehouses, especially is you go near Pooler Parkway. It seems like a new one is being built everyday and we are all struggling to find the same qualified candidates."
Lineage houses fresh and frozen food.
"I call us travel agents for food," Brannen-Tucker said. "All the food you see in grocery stores and restaurants, it comes from somewhere and most of those places don't have warehouses and store it — we do. We import and export — domestic and international."
Lineage' needs forklift operators, order selecters and pickers, plus clerical, administrative and maintenance workers.
"I need refrigeration technicians because we offer is cold air and customer service," Brannen-Tucker said. "We have to make sure the refrigeration is working."
Lineage shares a building with Perdue Farms, which has a WPL (weight, price, label) facility inside.
"We are like a mini distribution facility for Perdue Farms," Brannen-Tucker said. "They are actually hiring drivers."
Human Resource Director Susan Hartzog doesn't have to struggle much to find teacher candidates for Effingham County Schools.
"We do have specialty jobs that are sometimes difficult to fill but, in all honesty, people call us. They say, 'What can I do to teach in Effingham?' or 'What can I do to be a teacher?'" Hartzog said.
It is more difficult to find candidates for the system's transportation and maintenance jobs, she said.
"We're building all these wonderful new schools and we are trying to keep the ones that we have," she said. "We are looking for a lead electrian and an electrician's helper."
In addition, the system will soon serve 25 Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support students instead of having them go to Savannah. That creates the need for more teachers and bus drivers.
Trooper First Class 2 Hawk Parrish was on hand to handle inquiries about the Georgia State Patrol. The agency is authorized to have nearly 1,000 officers but has only about 800.
Furthermore, the pace of retirement is expected to pick up soon.
The process to become a trooper is rigorous and lengthy. Trooper school lasts seven months.
"Candidates have to get through the background process and there are some physical requirements," Parrish said. "And, of course, you have to be medically cleared and psychologically cleared."
The starting pay for troopers is $46,422 annually.
The Job Fair also featured Georgia Power, Georgia Pacific, Woodmen of the World, H&R Block, Goodwill, Perdue, Sizemore, Ready2CONNECT, Worksource Coastal, Thomas & Hutton, Effingham Health System, ABM, Staff Zone, Pride Pools, Maurice's, Chatham County Sheriff's Office, Savannah Tech, Interfor and Walmart Logistics.