Dozens of jobseekers filtered into the Washington County One-Stop Job Center in downtown Hagerstown on Friday for a chance to find work from one of 14 prospective employers during a public job fair.
Hagerstown resident Mary Conway said she lost her job as a day care provider about two years ago. She said she attended the event because she hasn’t had any luck for the past several months trying to find employment on Internet job sites.
“I need a job,” Conway said. “I’ve been unemployed for two years, and there is no more unemployment.”
Conway and a number of other people who attended the job fair said employment is hard to find in today’s sluggish economy.
They strolled through the One-Stop Job Center talking to employers, who set up booths, and accepted resumes and applications.
Nate Ritenour, senior recruiting specialist for FedEx Ground on Newgate Boulevard in Hagerstown, said the company is continually hiring package handlers that start at about $10.35 per hour.
“They have the opportunity to move up” in the company, Ritenour said.
He said that package handling is physical work, but that FedEx is also looking for dock supervisors.
Ritenour and Toni Rose, human resources administrator for Hollywood Casino at Charles Town (W.Va.) Races, said about 50 people visited their booths within the first 90 minutes of the three-hour job fair.
Rose said the casino was looking for more employees to join its 2,100-person workforce.
“We’re always looking for people to work,” she said. “There are opportunities.”
Rose said salaries vary depending on experience and the type of job. Apprentice chefs and other entry-level positions start at about $10 per hour, and employees have the chance to work their way up the ladder, she said.
Boonsboro resident Winnette Stone said she wished the job fair had a better selection of employers.
In addition to Fed Ex Ground and the casino, some of the employers included Aerotek, Bath Fitter, Citi, Manpower, Securitas Security, Susquehanna Bank and the U.S. Army.
“I just want to go back to work,” said Stone, a former office worker for a local doctor. “The job market is terrible.”
The most recent jobless rate in Washington County was 9.2 percent, according to figures released earlier this month by the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Suzette Snyder, Western Maryland labor exchange administrator for the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said the One-Stop Job Center has six to eight job fairs every year. An additional three to four are held offsite.
She said an average of 250 to 300 people attend each event.
“A lot of jobs are available,” Snyder said. “Employers need people, and this gives them an opportunity to see a lot at one time. It’s the same thing for job seekers.”
She said people are welcome to visit the One-Stop Job Center at 14 N. Potomac St. to get help finding a job. Upcoming job fairs are scheduled May 18 and June 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both days. Visit www.mwejobs.maryland.gov to get help finding a job.