Bed Bath & Beyond expects to hire 574 employees by the end of the summer.
Shane Short, president of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, updated his board of directors last Friday morning on BB&B’s progress.
The company purchased the former Spectrum Brands building in Pendergrass in November for an “e-fulfillment” center that will eventually employ some 900 people.
“It appears that a first round of hires will be fairly soon,” said Short. “Their first inbound shipment is in the July area.”
According to Short, BB&B plans to utilize the state’s QuickStart program through Lanier Tech and will likely use the Department of Labor to pre-screen applicants.
Asked what could be done to give Jackson County workers the first shot at jobs, Short replied, “We have to refer them (applicants) to the Department of Labor. They are open to any Georgian, no matter where they live, so we’re going to have to get the word out.”
He added that the company is “shying away” from hosting a job fair out of concern it would be “overwhelmed with applicants.”
“The chamber would like to find a way to help people apply, even if it meant we had to shut down the chamber office for a day or two,” he said.
Howard Ledford, coordinator for instruction for Lanier Technical College’s Commerce campus, raised the possibility of using the school’s mobile lab to invite people to come in and apply online. Staff would help job seekers navigate the Department of Labor’s website.
Short indicated that the chamber would likely accept Ledford’s offer — if the company chooses to let the Department of Labor do the pre-screening of applicants.