Hundreds of people passed out resumes and picked up applications Friday at Kaplan University's Spring Job Fair, while employers like Kool Smiles were there looking to both hire and help people.
"We offer dental services to children and adults, and we accept Medicaid," B.J. Ostrum of Kool Smiles said.
Its Hagerstown office has openings for three dental assistants, but the company was also there to make people aware of the service they offer, Ostrum said.
"I like to go to job fairs because a lot of people at fairs are in need of assistance," said Kimberly Buchanan of the Washington County Community Action Council. The jobless or marginally employed are among those who need the programs offered by the council, she said.
Unemployment remains stubbornly high in Washington County, averaging above 10 percent all of last year and standing at 10.6 percent in February, according to state figures.
Thirty-nine companies and agencies were on hand Friday, said Heather Guessford, Kaplan University's career development manager. She expected 500 or more people to attend the fair.
"I have a part-time position, but I'm looking for a full-time position, either in administration or office work," said Deanna Cochran of Hagerstown.
"I'm currently laid off, a victim of the mortgage crash in this area," said Alexis Ashby of Hagerstown.
"I'm looking for any type of position that allows me to utilize my business and office skills — very customer-centered, team player," Ashby said.
Joshua Tracey of Chambersburg, Pa., said he is retired from the Army and looking for a job in security. His wife, Chelsea Tracey, is working, but said she was exploring options.
Some of the companies — D.M. Bowman, Dot Foods and Rampf Molds Industries among them —also had set up tables at a recent job fair at Hagerstown Community College. Health care and social services were well-represented, as were banking, staffing companies and law enforcement.
People filled out interest cards for the Washington County Sheriff's Office, which has one opening in the Patrol Division and three at the detention center, Deputy 1st Class Michael Gladhill said.
Staffing companies such as Aerotek and NOVA Corp. were looking for people with specialized skills.
"Most of our positions are long term .... people looking for careers," said Amanda Heisey, an account manager with Aerotek. There is a demand for machinists and other skilled workers in manufacturing, as well as engineers, she said.
In the current economy, some companies are reluctant to hire, Heisey said. Aerotek provides contract workers to companies while taking care of payroll, health care and other administrative concerns, she said.
Client companies often end up putting Aerotek workers on their own payrolls, Heisey said.
NOVA, with an office in Chambersburg, was looking for information technology professionals to work for the U.S. Department of Defense, recruiter Amy Earnest said.
"Our whole mission is to support the warfighter," Earnest said.
The company has good-paying jobs for IT professionals who have or can obtain a security clearance, she said.