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Job fair offers hope to former Grove workers

February 01, 2001

Job fair offers hope to former Grove workers



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Grove Job FairCHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Mike Oden had two interviews lined up and a stack of applications in his hands when he left the Tri-State Job Fair Thursday morning.

A supervisor at Grove Worldwide in Shady Grove, Pa., for 13 years, the 38-year-old Smithsburg, Md., resident was one of 800 employees laid off from the company since September.

Still unemployed three months after his layoff, Oden was pleased with the response he got from the companies at the job fair.

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"I'm just going to go home now and start filling out all of these applications," he said.

The Grove Transition Team, in conjunction with Franklin County CareerLink, hosted the job fair at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Chambersburg from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Thirty-eight employers from Harrisburg, Pa., to Baltimore packed the church auditorium, and in the first half-hour, more than 120 former Grove employees showed up, said L. Michael Ross, chairman of the transition team.

The first three hours were devoted solely to former Grove employees and open to all Tri-State residents in the afternoon.

"We have a wide range of employment opportunities here," Ross said. "Hopefully, some people will walk out of here with a job or a job interview."

Sean Arrowood, 27, of Fayetteville, Pa., said he had been offered a job with Food Lion and turned in several applications with other companies during the first hour of the job fair.

"Things are not looking too bad," said Arrowood, an assembly worker who was part of the last round of layoffs at Grove three weeks ago.

Some of the employers were caught off guard by the heavy turnout.

California Microwave Systems, part of Northrop Grumman in Hagerstown, ran out of applications in the first hour.

"We brought a good-sized stack but ran out already," said Mina Davis, a human resources representative, who said someone was driving more up from their Hagerstown office.

The company wants to fill about 40 positions by May or June, said Tony Costa, avionics supervisor.

Other companies were also impressed with the early turnout and were passing out corporate literature and applications almost non-stop.

"We taking down information and conducting brief interviews and scheduling interviews" with perspective job candidates, said Claudia Heefner, human resources assistant at Nitterhouse, a concrete production company in Chambersburg.

Nitterhouse had eight job openings available ranging from sales people to maintenance and expected several more openings in the coming months.

The job fair also served to boost spirits of some of the unemployed men and women.

"There is a psychological component. People realize there are other employers in the Tri-State area," Ross aid. "We're fortunate to have regional employers to help people displaced by Grove."

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