Slow economy bringing experienced workers into seasonal jobs - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Slow economy bringing experienced workers into seasonal jobs

(Columbia) April 22, 2003 - The manufactoring industry in South Carolina lost 1500 jobs and about 1400 jobs in construction last month. Nearly 6400 jobs were added in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Seasonal workers also play a huge role in the success of the industry. Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia is home to more than 2000 animals and hundreds of seasonal workers each year.

Kim Benson is human resources director for the zoo and says she is seeing a change in who's applying for the jobs, "It's a fun place to work. When we put an ad in the paper, we get, depending on the position, hundreds of applicants."
Benson says, in addition to college and high school students who typically apply for jobs at the zoo, she has seen more adults applying for jobs at the zoo, "We also have people maybe who are making career changes or because of the local economy, state employees maybe looking for other opportunities."   

Three of those people are Lisa Galloway, Merry Jo Wing and Rob Macase. Each of them had jobs before coming to the zoo.

Lisa, "I was a homemaker and went to USC."

Merry Jo, "Primarily I worked in healthcare."

Rob, "I'm a retired police officer from Florida."

Now, because of the slow economy, downsizing or relocation, each them found themselves looking for jobs. Lisa says working at the zoo filled the need, "It kinda fills in the gap. It fills in the space of not working and it gives me a lot of experience."

Merry Jo, "Just something fun. A fun job was what I was looking for."

Rob, "I got on the internet and actually got to the website where Riverbanks Zoo was and I saw the opportunity for a job, a career."

Benson says the zoo is benefiting from more experienced and more mature applicants thanks to the slow economy, "They know what it means to be dependable and we love to have a diverse work force."
Grand Strand officials say they are expecting one of their best summers after the Easter weekend beat expectations.

By Malachi Rodgers
Posted 10:28pm by BrettWitt

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