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Job fair an opportunity for job seekers to meet employers

August 29, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- James Luther said he wasn't going to set his sights very high Thursday during the job fair at the Washington County One-Stop Job Center in downtown Hagerstown.

It was three months ago that Luther said he started looking for work when he lost his job at a landscaping company in Bunker Hill, W.Va.

"I was selective at first," said Luther, 29, who has a wife and young child. "Right now, the way things are, it's pretty tough. I'll take anything ... We're trying to make ends meet."

John Trader of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation said the job fair began at 10 a.m. Within the first 20 minutes, 40 people had walked through the doors.

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"It's to offer an opportunity for employers to recruit and for job seekers to meet them," Trader said. "... The real success is an employer being able to hire someone."

Trader anticipated about 180 people would attend the job fair, which lasted three hours and featured 10 employers, three colleges and recruiters from the U.S. Army.

A popular booth was the one staffed by Officer Michael Padin of the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C.

Padin said the department hired about 325 recruits this year and would like to take on 300 more in 2009. To apply, a candidate must be at least 21, a U.S. citizen and have military, police or college experience. The annual salary starts at $48,715, and increases to $53,300 after 18 months of service, he said.

"For a young individual who wants a career in law enforcement ... This is a good opportunity," Padin said.

Other employers at the fair included Sears, FedEx Ground and Northrop Grumman.

Monique Cuevas, 32, of Smithsburg, said she will graduate in the fall from Kaplan College with a degree in business. She said she attended the job fair, in part, to improve her communication skills with employers.

"It was nice to be able to speak with the recruiters and meet them one-on-one," Cuevas said. "... It's a very rough economy right now. There are a lot of qualified people and not a lot of positions."

If anyone missed the job fair, the One-Stop Job Center offers classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. so people can learn how to write résumés and attain other job-hunting skills.

The One-Stop Job Center is at 14 N. Potomac St., Suite 100, in Hagerstown.

For information, call 301-393-8255.

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