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1,000 jobs up for grabs at job fair Wednesday at Armory
Friday, September 14, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
More than 1,000 jobs will be available among more than 25 area employers at a job fair next week, according to Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce officials.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. until noon Wednesday at the National Guard Armory on Commonwealth Boulevard in Martinsville. It is open to the public.
A few manufacturers will be there, but most of the participating businesses will be in the customer service, distribution and health care fields, according to chamber President Amanda Witt. Some of their available jobs are part-time and/or seasonal, but many are permanent and full-time, she said.
In July, unemployment was at 16.3 percent in Martinsville and 10.3 percent in Henry County, the latest Virginia Employment Commission figures showed. The city has had the state’s highest jobless rate for several years.
With unemployment so high locally, why are 1,000-plus jobs available?
Witt said businesses often are looking for “people with certain skill sets.”
Numerous training and internship programs are available locally through the New College Institute, Patrick Henry Community College, the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board and other sources to help people get the skills they need to do jobs provided by area businesses, she said.
The fair is being sponsored by the chamber, the community college and the local Virginia Workforce Center.
Those attending should bring their résumés and dress professionally. Witt suggested suits — or at least dress shirts and khaki pants — for men and dresses or pantsuits for women. T-shirts and jeans are inappropriate, she said.
Some participating businesses may conduct interviews, and perhaps even hire people, on the spot, Witt said.
Job-seekers are dissuaded from bringing their children because “it’s hard to carry on conversations and take part in interviews” when people’s minds are on controlling their kids, she said.
Witt presented plans for the job fair to the chamber’s board on Thursday. It will be the second job fair held locally in recent weeks. An Aug. 15 fair, sparked by the closing of MasterBrand Cabinets in Henry County, has resulted in the hiring of at least more than 90 people so far, chamber officials said recently.
In other business Thursday, the chamber board:
• Approved six new chamber members: Barnett Commercial Realty, Grampy’s Dawgs, Green Living Resale, Southern Piedmont Technology Council, Tasty Creme Donuts and The Work Connection.
Go Wireless, Yon-O Express, the Cafe at Arts & Deli and The Cake & Dessert Pantry were removed from the membership rolls because they no longer are in business, said Mike Grogan, the board’s vice chairman of membership services.
The chamber now has 632 members.
• Learned that the chamber is planning a forum in October for Martinsville City Council candidates. The date and location have not yet been set.
Candidates will be able to present their platforms, and time may be allotted for questions and answers from the audience, according to Glenn Wood, the board’s vice chairman of government affairs.
Five candidates are running for three seats up for grabs. The candidates are incumbent council members Mark Stroud and Danny Turner as well as political newcomers Jay Engstrom, Sharon Hodge and Jim Woods.
A sixth candidate, Jim Clark, recently dropped out of the race due to health concerns.
• Learned that the chamber donated $750 to a scholarship fund started by the Martinsville Area Community Foundation in honor of Henry County administrator Benny Summerlin, who died Aug. 15 after battling cancer.