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More than 500 job seekers stop by job fair

August 06, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

Dressed in suits and clutching stacks of rsums, job seekers of all ages formed a line that snaked out the door of Kaplan University's administration building Friday morning during a Summer Job and Career Fair sponsored by Kaplan, The Herald-Mail and the Washington County Job Center.

The job fair ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but job seekers began arriving as early as 9 a.m., organizers said. By the end of the fair, more than 500 job seekers had stopped by.

Seventeen recruiters were scattered among three rooms, and the job center provided free rsum reviews in the library. A computer lab was available for filling out online applications.

At the Washington County Free Library's booth, head of adult services Elizabeth Hulett reminded job seekers about the many free services the library provides for job seekers, such as databases of jobs and educational programs, practice exams, computer classes and one-on-one help with rsums or applications.

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"Those online job applications are really complicated," Hulett said.

In the hallways, job seekers sat at tables filling out applications or perused bulletin boards with additional job openings posted.

Within classrooms, the booths of some employers, including DOT Foods, FedEx and the U.S. Census Bureau, generated long lines of potential applicants waiting to speak to recruiters.

While she was waiting in the FedEx line, Laura Shuman, 59, of Williamsport, said she was surprised by the variety of employers at the fair. She said some fairs she has attended seemed to have only physical labor-type jobs, while Friday's had some of the office assistant-type jobs she was seeking.

"It's more everybody-oriented," Shuman said.

She said she had been without full-time employment since November 2008, when she was laid off from a job at the American Legion she had held for about 22 years.

Mike Stouffer, 31, of Hagerstown, said he had been looking for work for about three months after being forced to sell his landscaping business due to the economy.

"You had to bid so low, it wasn't worth bidding on them," he said.

Stouffer said he talked to a few people at Friday's fair, but said his overall job search experience had been "miserable."

Waiting in line to speak to the Census Bureau recruiters, Wanda Percy, 52, of Great Cacapon, W.Va., said Friday's job fair was the first one she had attended. A former postal contractor, Percy said she was looking for a job for the first time in about 20 years.

Percy said her job search had lasted about a month so far, but she was prepared for it to take much longer because of the economy.

"No one's hiring," she said.

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