LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Rebound Georgia is focusing on the people in our community stepping up to help one another during the pandemic.
In south Georgia, after months of furloughs and layoffs, local companies are providing job opportunities to make sure everyone gets back to work safely.
The pandemic left businesses shuttered, millions out of work, and unemployment numbers at record highs in Georgia and across the country.
It also identified a need in Lowndes County where the unemployment rate is over 10 percent.
Andrea Schruijer is the executive director at Valdosta, Lowndes County Development Authority.
"Early on in COVID-19, while people were being furloughed, laid off or asked to stay at home, we still had a lot of essential businesses that were hiring," said Schruijer.
Businesses like Arglass in Valdosta, the newly constructed glass plant that opens in November. The plant is hiring and training 150 new employees for everything from entry level positions to specialized roles.
"We are actively hiring," said Grace Hixson, the head of Human Resources at Arglass Yamamura. "This isn't hiring for in six months to a year. This is hiring to start in two weeks."
To help fill the unemployment gap during the pandemic the Valdosta Lowndes County Development Authority created a bridge connecting essential employers with unemployed workers.
"We put together a job seekers page and we sent that out to our existing industries," Schruijer said. "We said, 'Who's hiring and how can we help promote that?"
The page has a variety of positions available and Schruijer says it's had a tremendous response from the commmunity and worked well for local industries.
"They can look at the job seekers page, they'll see the companies name, and phone number and how to apply," said Schruijer.
The opportunity to get back to work has been a bright light during a dark pandemic.
"The most important thing you can do is make sure somebody has a job," Schruijer said.
"We want hard workers," said Hixson. "We want people who have experience, we want people who don't have experience."
For more information about open positions in Lowndes County, click here.