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Opportunities available at job fair during tough economic times

November 19, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN

The economy might be sluggish, but there still are opportunities out there for job seekers with the right degrees, recruiters said Wednesday at a job fair hosted by the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown (USM-H).

Washington County Public Schools recruiters were at the fair seeking new teachers, while Washington County Hospital and Hagerstown Community College were recruiting graduates of Towson University's nursing degree programs. The Washington County Department of Social Services was seeking students from Salisbury University's social work program for social worker and case worker openings.

"It tells you there's jobs out there," said Suzanne Frock, testing and career services coordinator for USM-H.

Wednesday's event was the second job fair that USM-H has held, Frock said. Its first, in the spring, was larger and included more businesses, some of which had scheduling conflicts this time around, she said.

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The job fairs are open to the general public as well as to USM-H students, but there is a focus on industries served by USM-H degree program fields, Frock said.

Job seeker attendance was slow during the first hour of the fair, but picked up slightly before 6 p.m., when some evening classes were to begin.

Elementary and early childhood education student Ginny Ankeney of Big Pool was one of the job seekers who visited the Washington County Public Schools booth. She said the job fair was a good idea, but would have benefited from more publicity.

"It's a very condensed way to get a lot of information," she said.

Criminal justice student Amber Shedd of Hagerstown said she would have liked to see a wider variety of jobs. The Hagerstown Police Department was at the fair seeking patrol officers, but Shedd said she is more interested in the forensic side of police work.

Frock said the spring job fair will be promoted better and should include more recruiters.

"We're just getting our feet wet," she said.

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