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600 attend job fair
One table had 900 positions available
More than a half-hour after a job fair opened at National Guard Armory on Wednesday, a line still stretched around the building on Commonwealth Boulevard in Martinsville. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
There were 900 jobs available at one table at the job fair at the National Guard Armory on Wednesday.
Kelly Services had 900 jobs available, according to Nancy Celeski, service consultant with Kelly Services. The jobs all are warehouse positions, including shipping/receiving, picking/packing and loading/unloading.
The large number of jobs are at one Martinsville company, which recently was purchased by eBay to ship its products, she said. She would not name the company.
She added that the positions are full-time with the potential for overtime. It could not be determined if the positions are permanent or temporary.
The people whose applications she accepted at the fair seemed to be qualified, so “I think we’ll be successful” at filling the available positions, she said, adding that the company is looking to hire now.
About 600 job-seekers attended the Wednesday’s event, according to Laura Buchanan, business services manager with the Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the fair.
There were 2,000 job applications submitted and more being accepted online, Buchanan said.
“I was really pleased” with the turnout, especially considering that the fair lasted only three hours and was held only about a month after the last job fair on Aug. 15, Buchanan added.
All employers were complimentary of the applicants they met at the fair and the applications they received, Buchanan said.
Another company at the fair that had several jobs available was ICF.
ICF has about 30 operations center agent positions available to fill over the next month, said Lauren Cooper, ICF recruiter.
While only one software developer position was available, Cooper said that ICF always is looking to speak with anyone with technical skills.
On Wednesday, ICF also was accepting applications for career counselors. For most of the positions at ICF, the number of positions available depends on the number of contracts awarded to the company, so it wants to have applications on hand for potential new contracts, Cooper said.
The job fair was focused on jobs in the manufacturing, customer service, distribution and health care fields.
Blue Ridge Village was accepting applications for possible openings in the future. Job seekers were filling out applications for entry-level positions in laundry, housekeeping, maintenance and dietary as well as RN, LPN, CNA, CMA and medical technician positions, according to Tilisa Riddle, marketing director at Blue Ridge Village.
Blue Ridge Village needs “good-quality, reliable, dependable, hard-working people ... and I think we’ve got that here” in the area, Riddle said.
It was the first area job fair that Blue Ridge Village has participated in. Riddle said it wanted to take part because “we want people to know we’re out here” and have jobs available.
Lauren Hall came to the job fair looking for professional positions, but “since the economy is so low, I’m looking for really just anything,” she said.
Hall completed customer service applications at ICF and Fanueil shortly after arriving. She was excited that so many jobs were available at the job fair, she said.
Since losing her job at Farmer’s Foods when it closed in July, she has been applying for jobs everywhere possible and attending every job fair she can, she said, adding that she usually fills out 10 to 15 applications a week.
“It’s been a struggle, but I feel like it’s going to get better. ... I’m hoping something positive will come,” Hall said.
The support system of her family is helping her through the struggle of being unemployed. “Without my parents, I’d probably be living with my two children in a cardboard box,” Hall said.
Kacel Witcher lost his job as a support specialist at MasterBrand Cabinets in August. He attended the job fair last month and had no luck, so he came out again Wednesday to try again, he said.
“I need a job, so I’m going to keep going” to job fairs until he lands a job, he added.
Witcher said he felt that the job fair Wednesday had a good representation of jobs, but he hoped that there would be more retail and electrical jobs instead of manufacturing, he said.
He came prepared with résumés and had researched the companies beforehand so he would be prepared for an interview and ready to ask a potential employer questions as well, Witcher said.
Joseph Rorrer recently graduated from college and is struggling to find a job.
Rorrer received a master’s degree in education in the spring from Radford University, but even with a college education, he can’t find a job in his field. At the fair, he spoke with representatives from Patrick Henry Community College who said they could help him seek internship and professor assistantship opportunities, he said.
At the fair, he applied for an educator position at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. However, if he can’t land a job in his field, he is willing to look into other fields and hopes to find opportunities, he said, adding that he applied for customer service positions at the fair.
If he can’t find a job in the Martinsville area, he will start looking in other areas, but he would prefer to stay here where he grew up, Rorrer said.
The employers and resources represented at the fair were Memorial Hospital, Blue Ridge Village, CONTACT, Nurse’s Touch, Mary Kay, Golden Living, Kelly Services, TPG, Staffmasters, New College Institute, Ameristaff, Work Connection, Road Pro, Nilit, Unilin, National College, Virginia Glass, Drake Extrusion, Virginia Museum of Natural History, Virginia Taxing Authority, Project Connect, Results, Faneuil, Patrick Henry Community College and ICF.