Job fair: 30 openings draw candidates to PGT Industries

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Jody Farrow-Bennett knows better than to raise her hopes too high, but she described herself as cautiously optimistic Saturday that PGT Industries could lead to a job.
Farrow-Bennett showed up with scores of others at PGT’s plant off Heilig Road for a job fair aimed at filling 30 new jobs.
The company, which makes vinyl and glass windows and doors, has used the StaffMasters agency of Charlotte to hire some 90 people in recent months. It announced this past week that 30 more manufacturing jobs were available.
“It’s awesome that we’re able to help others find work and get back on track,” said Tricia Kennedy, the on-site manager for StaffMasters.
A PGT worker placed by StaffMasters came up to Kennedy recently and told her, “Tricia, you helped the man out.”
“It is very rewarding,” she said.
The people hired actually work a set number of full-time hours for StaffMasters at the plant, and if their work is satisfactory, PGT offers them permanent placement on its first or second shifts.
And while 30 jobs are available now, StaffMasters also tries to make sure it has qualified people in the pipeline in case PGT keeps expanding.
Kennedy said she was sure StaffMasters would have enough candidates from Saturday’s 8 a.m.-1 p.m. job fair to address the 30 openings.
Bringing the new people on board actually turns out to be a four- to five-day process as they’re interviewed by StaffMasters, take drug tests, go through background checks, provide Work Key scores, have a PGT-specific interview and go through orientation.
Kennedy said StaffMasters has seen a lot of people who used to work at the Freightliner truck plant in Cleveland or GDX, which once operated out of the PGT plant.
Farrow-Bennett was one of those former GDX workers. When that company closed, she went back to school at Central Piedmont Community College. She has been looking for work since last December.
She has met other people, however, who have been out of work three to five years.
“I’ve applied so many places,” Farrow-Bennett said, but it is rare she hears back because so few employers are hiring.
“You can’t even get in the door to boast about yourself,” she said.
Several people were waiting in line Saturday morning before the job fair started.
The applicants talked one-on-one with a StaffMasters representative for five to 10 minutes to help determine if they had the skill sets PGT was looking for.
If they survived the initial cut, they went on to watch a video about PGT and the kind of jobs it has on the manufacturing floor. The applicants then were offered a tour of the plant.
Most of Saturday’s applicants had manufacturing or construction experience, particularly in modular homes.
“We’ve had some really good quality people come in,” Kennedy said.