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Alloway hosts "Here to Help" Job Fair at Green Grove Gardens

February 03, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Twila Sprecher adjusts her 7-month-old daughter, Lily, before continuing through the "Here to Help" Job Fair Thursday at Green Grove Gardens. The fair was sponsored by Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York. Sprecher said she attended the fair to get advice for starting her own photography business.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — More than 1,000 job-seekers descended on Green Grove Gardens Thursday for the "Here to Help" Job Fair that featured 65 vendors, including manufacturers, health care providers, banks and colleges.

Derrick Donnell, administrator for PA CareerLink's Franklin County office, said vendors registering for the job fair were told they must be hiring to participate.

"This job fair is the best I've seen in my 12 years," he said.

Organizers said job seekers were waiting in the parking lot more than an hour before the event's start time.

"I brought 150 applications with me, and within an hour and a half, they were gone," said Brian Wise of Alternate Heating, a boiler manufacturer.

Donnell said Franklin County's 8 percent unemployment rate means 6,300 people considered to be in the workforce are unemployed. That figure doesn't consider the underemployed.

Vendors and organizers said many of the job seekers were people now working part time and looking for full-time employment with benefits.

Beartown, Pa., area resident Richard Gladhill and his son, Richard Jr., attended the fair.

Richard Sr. said he works for himself a couple days a week, but wants to supplement that income with a forklift operator position.

Richard Gladhill Jr. said he was interested in forklift or welding opportunities.

"They can give you a good bit of information," Gladhill Jr. said of speaking with the vendors.

He said he was laid off two years ago from a welding position at Manitowoc and has submitted applications "everywhere" since then.

Crystal Williams of Chambersburg, Pa., said she moved to the area two years ago.

"I have different certifications, and I'm trying to learn how to use them to further my career. ... I want to go into nursing," she said.

State Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York, hosted the job fair. He said he plans to make it an annual event.

"Everyone said it was very positive," he said.

Mike Breslin is general manager of Christian Companion Senior Care's new office in Franklin County. The for-profit, franchised company recently expanded from neighboring counties.

"We provide non-medical, in-home care from a Christian perspective," Breslin said.

The business hires part-time employees with a variety of skills "all the time" to provide companionship and personal care services, Breslin said.

"I'm going to be inundated with applications," he said of the job fair response.

Wise expects to hire 20 to 30 people in the next four to six months, since the rising cost of oil and cold weather leads to increased demand for residential and commercial boilers.

"This will be a nice pool for us to pull from," he said of Thursday's applicants.

Lutheran Home Care & Hospice Inc.'s representatives said they were looking for a variety of employees, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and home care support aides. In-home Support Director Pat Gentry said the most important qualification is a caring heart.

"We are growing like crazy," Gentry said, saying demographics are changing, and older people either want to stay in their homes or can't sell them.

Lutheran Home Care & Hospice Inc., which is opening offices in Cumberland County in Pennsylvania and Washington County in Maryland, has a Living Independence for the Elderly facility in Chambersburg, Pa. There, senior citizens can receive therapies, primary medical care and prescription medications during the day.

"We're always looking for employees to staff that facility," said Lara Shepherd, human resources director.

Shepherd said she was surprised by the number of certified nursing assistants and personal care assistants that attended the job fair.

"This has been great for us. We've had professionals, and we've had college and high school," said Marci J. Feldman, human resources officer for Orrstown Bank.

Feldman had a 3-inch stack of completed applications on her table.

"We're looking for entry level all the way up to management," she said.

Tim Lachemann, human resources manager for DL Martin Co. of Mercersburg, Pa., said he attends job fairs regularly and described Thursday's as one of the best. He said DL Martin Co. needs seven CNC machinists to add to its staff of 148.

The machine shop is busy despite the down economy, Lachemann said.

"That's why we're focusing our attention on it as far as filling positions," he said. 

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