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48 employers participate in Franklin County job fair

June 08, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Employers looking for workers and workers looking for employment were linked Friday at the second annual Franklin County Job, Training and Education Fair at Chambersburg Mall.

Wes Cool, spokesman for Franklin County Careerlink, one of the sponsors, predicted that more than 15,000 people would attend the one-day event.

Careerlink, at 300 Norland Ave., Chambersburg, is the one-stop system for residents from an eight-county area looking for employment through what used to be the state employment offices. They also can apply for jobless benefits, training programs and find related services at Careerlink, Cool said.

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The Chambersburg office opened in 1997.

More than 60 booths, including those of 48 employers, lined the main hallway at the mall Friday. The others offered training, education or private and government services.

"A lot of the vendors were here last year," Cool said.

He said his agency spent $5,000 on advertising in the eight counties the Chambersburg Careerlink office serves plus Fulton, Bedford and Huntingdon counties in Pennsylvania and in Washington County.

Several Washington County businesses rented booth space at the fair.

The fair offered door prizes and entertainment for patrons.

"We wanted this to be a family affair," Cool said.

He said a common complaint among area employers is the difficulty finding qualified workers.

"That's why Careerlink was created," Cool said. "We offer training, help with child-care problems for single parents, help people with job transportation problems or any service that helps them return to work,"

At one time, when a person got a job with a company, he or she could expect to work out their lives and retire from the same company, Cool said.

"It's different today. There's no longer any employer or employee loyalty. The average worker will have four or five different jobs in a lifetime. It means continual training to upgrade job skills."

Connie Stevens of Mercersburg wasn't interested in learning new job skills. She just wants a job.

She is a factory worker for a Mercersburg company that soon will go out of business, she said, and she doesn't want to be among the unemployed.

"I've been encouraged by what I've seen at the job fair today," Stevens said.

She said she stopped by booths for Ingram Book Company, which opened a 400-employee book distribution warehouse in Chambersburg in Mid-May; Staples, which has a 600-employee warehouse in Halfway, and Franklin County Human Resources.

Denise McLucas, human resources manager for Ingram, was running a booth at the fair. She said she had two openings at present, one for a shipping supervisor and one for a shipping lead person, both on second shift.

An administrative assistant for the Staples warehouse said there were openings there for fork lift operators and order selectors.

Paul George, 40, of Greencastle, Pa., had a job as a vendor but the company he worked for didn't offer health insurance benefits, he said.

"I need them," he said. "I have a wife and a little one. I need the benefits."

George said he filled out several applications Friday, but didn't expect to get a job right away.

"Any kind of job will suit me, if it has benefits," he said.

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