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Eight take part in Gildan Boot Camp

May 20, 2019

EDEN – A handful of employee-hopefuls attended a Gildan Boot Camp last week to gain insight into what the massive Eden employer looks for in its new hires.

On May 15-16, attendees learned about soft skills, workplace behaviors and the hiring process. They underwent on-site interviews and took a tour of the Meadow Road plant.

The two-day course was led by Rockingham Community College Director of Human Resource Development Sharon Galloway, and was held at the Eden Drug Education Center.

Click here to watch a video of the boot camp.

The second morning, as Galloway spoke to the eight participants, Gildan Director of Human Resources Orlando Poteat sat at a corner table, reviewing their application information.

“Hopefully we’re going to get some great employees,” he said of the boot camp. “This gives the opportunity for prospective employees looking for jobs to see what we have to offer.”

Poteat said Gildan brought some current employees to speak to the participants about what they do, and supervisors who highlighted what they are looking for in workers.

“Sharon taught them about soft skills, hiring and being a good employee, while I took them through the application and background process, what we look for, and benefits,” Poteat said.

“Quite a few people think we are manufacturing at this facility; we’re a distribution center,” he added.

Galloway asked the participants what they learned from their homework assignment – which was to find out what they could about Gildan.

Their answers included the CEO’s name, printed T-shirts, the large size of the company, and its internships. One woman said she visited another Gildan facility recently.

Joseph Turner, Elizabeth Manuel and Hannah Wolf

Boot camp “graduates” include Steven Cockrum II, Demario Harris, Elizabeth Manuel, Josiah McBride, Bon Ohonjo, Joseph Turner, Joseph Wade, and Hannah Wolf.

Gildan’s history dates back to 1946, when Joseph Chamandy started Harley Inc., which produced activewear, apparel and sleepwear for children, according to the company website. In the early 1980s, his grandsons, Glenn and Greg Chamandy, took over the company’s leadership, and acquired a Montreal-based textile manufacturer. They launched Gildan Textiles with investments in new equipment to increase capacity, efficiency, and quality. By 1992, in response to a growing demand for printable blank T-shirts, the company is renamed Gildan Activewear.

In 2001, Gildan became the number one brand in 100 percent cotton T-shirts in the U.S. printwear industry – and the company opened its first large-scale distribution center in Eden.

Over the ensuing years, Gildan has acquired many companies and opened facilities across the globe. By 2018, the company reached 50,000 employees in 30 facilities in seven countries.

Its licensed brands include Under Armour and Mossy Oak. Other brands include Gildan, Goldtoe, Anvil, Secret, Comfort Colors, Kushyfoot, Peds, Silks, Alstyle, and American Apparel.

To be contacted the next time Rockingham Community College offers a Gildan Boot Camp or other industry-related event, contact Galloway at 336-342-4261 ext. 2121 or galloways@rockinghamcc.edu.

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Gerri Hunt is director of public information at Rockingham Community College. She can be reached at huntg0780@rockinghamcc.edu or 336-342-4261 ext. 2170.

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