Job seekers aplenty

Spring Job Fair attracts high school seniors, senior citizens

March 18, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Steve Weisfuss and Kara Abella, standing at the front of a long line, speak with First Data's Vickie Bush at the Spring Job Fair held Friday at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Halfway through a four-hour Spring Job Fair Friday at Hagerstown Community College, the number of job seekers exceeded the figure for the 2010 event.

About 700 people came to last year's event, but by 12:30 p.m., nearly 900 had turned out to check out displays from 29 companies and organizations with positions to fill, said Bonnie Saunders, HCC coordinator of Internships and Job Services.

From information systems technology to commercial vehicle transportation, HCC also offered attendees courses to learn skills to land jobs in the future.

"I'm seeing many more professional people this year," said Suzette Snyder, supervisor of the Washington County One-Stop Job Center. Office professionals and business owners were among those looking to find or change jobs, she said.

From high school seniors looking for first jobs, to senior citizens looking to make ends meet, the fair — held at the college's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center — attracted those with no experience to those with decades on the job.

"I'm ambitious. I'm hardworking. I'm easy to train. I have good analytical skills," said Boonsboro High School senior Jasmine Stuart, who plans to attend college, but was doing some career research.

After a working career that included being a hairdresser and a corrections officer, Vicki Woodson is trying to find something else to do with her life.

"Now, I'm just trying to find me again," the Mercersburg, Pa., woman said as she filled out job applications. She said people skills and customer service are her strong points.

"I have a background in graphic design .... I want a job where I can use the skills I learned," said Travis Morse of Warfordsburg, Pa. He is currently on hiatus from Shippensburg (Pa.) University and worked the winter at Whitetail Ski Resort near Mercersburg.

"I was a manager at a restaurant, and they just closed their doors" because of slumping business, said Tina Boyd of Hagerstown. "I have a lot of background in sales, advertising and marketing."

The jobless rate in Washington County in January was 10.6 percent, but there are jobs out there for people with the right skills.

 Canam Steel Corp., a steel fabricator in Point of Rocks, Md., is adding a third shift and has about 40 positions open for welders, skilled maintenance workers and office personnel,  Human Resources Manager Rose Davis said.

"We're growing .... We just hired about 25 folks in the last two weeks in general laborer positions," Davis said.

D.M. Bowman also has a number of positions for regional drivers, requiring Class A commercial driver's licenses,  company representative Heather Buskey said.

"A student (driver) can make $35,000 to $40,000 their first year," Buskey said.

"We have a lot of positions that are going to be coming open," said Nicole Harris, a human resources specialist with Dot Foods in Williamsport.

Dot Foods buys and stores bulk quantities of food products which it distributes to customers in case-size quantities, she said.

Dot needs drivers, diesel mechanics, warehouse and clerical workers, Harris said.

"We have a lot of positions that are going to be coming open," Harris said. "We're anticipating our volume will be increasing."

Besides the immediate job opportunities at the fair, Snyder and other certified professionals were helping job seekers fix up their résumés.

Her tips included using larger fonts for easier reading; keeping sentences short; and putting important information up front, where an employer can find it quickly.

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