CHESTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A local county hit hard by the loss of the textile industry and the recession sees hope on the horizon.
Giti Tire is a global tire company that chose to locate a new facility in Chester in 2014. In 2015, its groundbreaking was held and just this week hundreds of people are vying for the first round of jobs available.
A job fair was held on Tuesday, where Giti was offering jobs on the spot to qualifying candidates. The company hopes to make 300 hires by the end of September.
According to Economic Development Director of Chester County Karlisa Parker, in 2004 the unemployment rate in Chester County was 15.5 percent, it got up to 21.3 percent, but today it stands at 6.3 percent.
She hopes that Giti will help them shrink that percentage even more, and also reduce the amount of people who live in Chester County, but leave for work every day. Right now, she says nearly 10,000 people who live in Chester, work in other counties.
According to Parker, the global tire company brings a $6 million capital investment and the promise of 1700 new jobs within seven years to Chester County. She says the news was uplifting to hundreds of people who lost their jobs as the textile industry struggled.
"When Giti announced that they chose Chester County, it changed everything," Parker said. "Anywhere I went there was a smile, there was excitement and there were people asking 'how do we get in touch with them because I have a grandson that I want to get a job there, or my son can now come home.'"
Parker says with construction and spinoff work from Giti's arrival, the county could see the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs in the next decade. She says this could be the start of a new era for Chester County, one full of economic growth.
"We were the little county that could, and we did," Parker said.