The line outside of the UPS employment center on Fulton Industrial Blvd. in Southwest Atlanta stretched through the parking lot. Tis’ the season for seasonal employment opportunities and the delivery and logistics giant was hiring for package car drivers, tractor trailer drivers and package handlers. An applicant dressed in a full FedEx uniform, knowing full well how much work will be available this holiday season, waited among the other applicants.
The opportunity to secure a job with a Fortune 500 company, though seasonal, can do a lot to help a family. The unemployment numbers in Georgia are falling, according to The Department of Labor. Georgia’s unemployment rate was less than 3% during August 2022.
“UPS offers opportunities and long-term careers, for individuals to not only develop themselves but start a journey,” said Bria Woods, Human Resource Business Partner Director. Moments before the start of the career fair Woods could be seen directing staffers who were going to be assisting applicants. The company’s annual ‘Brown Friday’ event, a massive national career event that takes place before Black Friday will be on November 4 in Atlanta, will lead to thousands of hires.
‘I love my job’
An example of how the seasonal opportunity turned into a career is walking around the career fair greeting people and flashing a wide smile. Racquel Collier, 40, does a lot of smiling as a cover supervisor in charge of making sure the entire north side of the 1-million-square-foot facility is running smoothly as far as the unloaders are concerned.
“I love my job and if I see someone doing a good job I let them know I appreciate their effort,” said Collier, a native of Brooklyn, New York who moved to the Metro Atlanta area in 2020.
After working in a doctor’s office a relative told her about his job hiring seasonal workers and that she should look into it. She did and her career has not been the same since. “I started off as an unloader,” said Collier. “This opportunity pushed me to be the supervisor I am today. The benefit of the career fair is that it gives you a chance to get your foot in the door.”
Collier has recommended applying to people that she meets. “This is a great opportunity for them to get re-hired [after the seasonal period] and get full benefits,” she said.
“What’s important to me is them,” Collier said as she waved she hands at the people now seated in the parking lot filling out applications and taking instruction from UPS personnel.
Nationally, UPS expects to hire more than 100,000 seasonal employees in anticipation for the holidays, particularly Christmas. Labor numbers rise to around 800,000 employees during the holiday season, according to data from the United States Labor Department.
Last year’s logistical issues with warehousing space and shipping delays has retailers, both online and brick and mortar, staffing at a higher rate and much earlier. The UPS career fair had more than two dozen applicants waiting in the parking lot at least two hours before the 10 am start Friday morning.
“We’re trying to provide fairly tale endings,” said Woods with a smile.