More than 200 job seekers get chance to meet face-to-face with employers

June 23, 2011|By AARON SAUNDERS |
  • David Breakall hands his resume to Shauna Williamson, left, a representative for The Home Depot, at a job fair held Thursday at the Washington County One-Stop Job Center.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

About 245 eager job seekers flowed in and out of the Antietam room of the Washington County One-Stop Job Center Thursday morning in search of career opportunities.

The job fair, at the job center's offices at 14 N. Potomac St. in downtown Hagerstown, gave job seekers the opportunity to meet face-to-face with business representatives and make a good impression.

"It's good to be able to come to an event like this and show your face," Baltimore native Tina Ray said.

In today's job market, potential employees frequently apply through the Internet and never get the opportunity to meet with anyone directly involved with the company unless they are hired.

"Sometimes its discouraging to see the number of online applicants when you apply for a job," Ray said.

"Based on our unemployment rate, it is very important to provide opportunities for the unemployed individuals in our community," said Suzette Snyder, Western Maryland labor exchange administrator for the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Representatives from an array of businesses, including CIANBRO construction, Home Depot, FedEx Ground, US Cellular, The Arc, Bankers Casualty Company, Combined Insurance, Lennox Distribution and Guardian Home Services Inc., among others, answered questions and took resumes from potential employees.

"We are looking for someone with a positive attitude, flexibility, everyday attendance who is willing to learn," Home Depot representative Shayna Williamson said.

 "All of our applications are done online, but a job fair is a great opportunity for future employees to show their face and hopefully get in the door," Williamson said.

Some business like Guardian Home Services are looking for people to fill specific jobs.

"We are looking for skilled help, mostly CNAs (certified nursing assistants) and home-care attendants ... our services are very personal so we need employees who are good with people," Guardian representative Laura Peiffer said.  

Recruiter SueAnn McKendrick said The Arc of Washington County, which employs more than 600 people, is the best kept secret in Hagerstown.

"There is always a need to find individuals who can provide good services for our people," she said.

Washington County's unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in April, the most recent month for which figures were available. According to DLLR figures, 6,114 Washington County residents were unemployed in April out of a labor force of 67,157.

"Its been very difficult to find a job because the economy is bad," Ray said.

The job fair was held by the job center, in conjunction with the Washington County Business Relations Group.

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