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Job fair hiring at 90 — so far
Sunday, September 9, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
More than 90 people have been hired by employers who took part in an Aug. 15 job fair, according to Laura Buchanan, business services manager with the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce.
Forty employers from the region participated in the fair, and just more than 300 positions were available that day. About 800 job-seekers attended the event and 170 people have been interviewed since then.
Some of the employers still are making contacts, in the interviewing process or hoping to make job offers so the number of hires could increase over the next few weeks, Buchanan said.
The chamber surveyed employers after the job fair. Of the 85 percent who responded, all employers said the event was beneficial to their organization, she added.
Buchanan said she was surprised that so many employers have gotten to the point of making offers since it was only a few weeks ago. “I was pleased,” she added.
She feels the positive results from the job fair were due to employers responding to the closing of MasterBrand Cabinets and seeing that there is a good workforce for the jobs they had available, she said.
Matt Thurman, vice president of sales and marketing at The Prillaman Group Inc., said he felt the job fair was “very positive for the community” and for the temporary staffing agency.
The agency was impressed with the applications it received and a few people have been hired since the job fair, he added.
The firm would “absolutely” participate again because as a temporary staffing agency, it is important that it have people ready to work when job orders come in, Thurman said.
“We look at it (job fair) as a community service as well because we are helping people find jobs,” he added.
Debbie’s Staffing Services participated in the fair and was able to put about five people to work, said Tammy France, account manager with Debbie’s Staffing.
The job seekers had great skills and the agency definitely would participate again because “I want them to go to work,” she said. She added that the job fair “helped us out to help people find jobs.”
Another job fair is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the National Guard Armory.
That job fair will target the health care, service and the sales fields, but a variety of employers will be participating. So far, about 20 employers are scheduled to be on hand and more are being recruited, Buchanan said.
Buchanan hopes the next fair will be as big as the last one, she said. It will be sponsored by the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce, Patrick Henry Community College and the Virginia Workforce Center.
The types of jobs that could be available include certified nursing assistants (CNAs), registered nurses (RNs), dietary technicians, customer service representatives, sales representatives and administrative positions. Also, temporary staffing agencies will be offering manufacturing positions, Buchanan said.
The only negative feedback from the last job fair was the heat inside of the armory since there was no air conditioning and it was hot temperatures. The September job fair is being held earlier in the day to counter that, Buchanan said.
The positive feedback about the fair was that employers liked its layout, it was well organized and they were impressed with how well-dressed and prepared the applicants were, Buchanan said. At the next job fair, the employers may be organized by sector, she added.
The feedback from job seekers was positive as well. They said they were pleased with the amount of time that they were allowed to speak with the employers, Buchanan said.
The September job fair originally was to have been the only job fair, but the chamber “felt we had to do something immediately to respond” to the closing of MasterBrand in August so the earlier event was organized, Buchanan said.
She said she is not worried that turnout may be lower because the two job fairs were just weeks apart since there still are people looking for work, she added.
Employers interested in participating in the job fair should contact Buchanan at 634-3610 or email@example.com.
A job fair is a “really good service” for job seekers and employers because not only can applications be accepted, but employers get the opportunity to meet a potential employee face-to-face, Buchanan said. Also, it’s not often that job seekers have 40 employers in one room to meet, she added.
Buchanan advises that job seekers come dressed appropriately for the job they are seeking, bring résumés and be prepared to fill out required information on applications.