Ever thought about working at a prison?
Jobs are readily available at Bledsoe County Correctional Complex, a 2,500-person prison in nearby Pikeville.
Representatives with the Tennessee Department of Correction attended a job fair held Monday at Milner Recreation Center with about 15 other employers. Representatives from Bridgestone, Yorozu, Black Rifle Coffee Company and Covenant Academy were among others on hand.
The prison provides a unique job opportunity and one that’s safe, according to counselor John White.
“I feel safer at the prison than I do driving thru Nashville,” said White. “It’s not like they make it out to be in the TV shows. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve been scared.”
Bledsoe County Correctional Complex offers full state benefits and currently has a $5,000 sign-on bonus. Positions available include basic security, escort, and mobile patrol. There are frequent opportunities for advancement, said human resources director Lynna Bedsole.
“Everybody is hiring right now but these job fairs are certainly helpful,” said Bedsole, who noted the prison is 41 miles from McMinnville. “We got two strong candidates today so that’s a step in the right direction.”
Every workday at the prison is a 12-hour shift. One week an employee will only work on Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 24 hours. The following week they will work every day except Wednesday and Thursday for a total of 60 hours.
At another job fair booth, Yorozu was represented by human resources manager Phillip Williams. He said Yorozu has a number of positions available including forklift operator, assembly line worker, stamping operator, and shipping and receiving.
Yorozu is a supplier for the Nissan plant in Smyrna, which is in the middle of a two-week shutdown. Williams said Yorozu has been able to keep all its employees working, but the Nissan shutdown has definitely decreased the workload.
At WillowBranch, the nursing home is hiring for RNs, LPNs, dietary and housekeeping employees.
“It’s very difficult to find nurses right now,” said WillowBranch representative Dana Holland. “They are few and far between.”
WillowBranch is currently offering a $3,000 sign-on bonus for RNs.
Covenant Academy is looking for a math teacher, an administrative assistant and substitute teachers.
“Everybody always wants a math teacher,” said Covenant headmaster Tim Miller. “Teachers in general are getting harder to find because there aren’t many people going into the field.”
Covenant started its first day of school Aug. 4. Tim was excited to say enrollment is up to 145 students, an increase of about 15 from last year.
Black Rifle Coffee Company has a 65,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Manchester. It has around 60 full-time employees and about 20 temporary workers, according to HR manager Jason Smith.
“We get the beans from Colombia and Guatemala and do everything at our facility,” said Jason. “If we can get one or two employees from this job fair, it will be great.”
Bridgestone HR representative Tamara Cannon noted the company has been in Warren County for 30 years and many longtime employees are retiring. She said Bridgestone has been actively looking for applicants for about eight months.
“It’s really good pay,” she said.
The starting wage is $18.25 an hour and it tops out at $27.19 an hour in three years.