"Booming" road work in SC available to former nuclear workers

"Booming" road work in SC available to former nuclear workers

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In Northeast Richland County, Becky Wiegand's garage is piled high with family belongings.

It's stuff she didn't plan to sell until just a couple days ago.

She's also fine-tuning her sales pitch for a brand of lipstick she sells.

"You've gotta shake it, and the cool part is it doesn't come off," she said while demonstrating. "Most people are like, 'What!'"

Wiegand's husband was one of the thousands laid off from V.C. Summer's massive expansion project. That project brought them to the Midlands from Texas back in 2015. She and her husband thought a welding job her husband landed would keep them here until at least 2019, maybe 2021.

Then, the unexpected happened.

"It was just out of nowhere," she said. "I mean, he called me on his lunch break. 'Hey, how you doing?' 'Good.' You know, typical Monday. An hour later, I was like, 'Why is he calling at 1:30? I thought he was back.' He's like, 'We just all got laid off.' And I was like, 'What!'" Wiegand said.

It's a familiar story for Leslie Clark.

"If there is an immediate need, we can fill that need," Clark said.

Clark is with Carolinas AGC, an association of general contractors across the Carolinas.

"We hated to see this happen, especially to all the families that are going to be impacted, but right now, in the construction industry, we're booming," she said.

That's thanks, in part, to a new gas tax hike – creating road projects all across the state. Hundreds of jobs still need to be filled.

"We have over 400 jobs that are available immediately," Clark said.

Back in Richland County, Wiegand's husband plans to give those openings a look.

"Prayer is the most important thing," Wiegand added. "I feel like it's going to have the most impact."

Carolinas AGC has all of the openings on its website – and it plans to be a part of the upcoming job fairs.

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