Thursday, March 10, 2005

Area Job Fair draws lots of applicants

Staff Writer

Five hundred job applicants participated in the Marshall-Benton Area Job Fair last week in Holly Springs, according to Joe Buckner with the Governor’s Job Fair Network.

A survey showed that 374 resumes were accepted by employers and 230 on-site interviews were conducted, with 203 firm offers extended the day of the fair.

Buckner was pleased by the quality of job offerings and by the quality of the job seekers at this fair, the kickoff event for the Network this year.

“We had outstanding employers and a wider range of job opportunities with probably more technical job openings,” Buckner said, as compared to last year.

He said employers at this fair seemed more eager to hire.

He praised the organizing committee’s efforts.

“This is an outstanding committee made up of people who are sincere about helping people,” he said. “I always look forward to coming here and working with them.

New to the fair this year was Winchester, an ammunition assembly plant that expects to be in production in Oxford by April. The plant expects to employ 150, according to Joe Vance.

Another employer was Bluegrass Marine Inc., that employs for river tugs and barges.

A number of job seekers reported they had interviews already scheduled, some as early as March 2, the day after the fair, according to Sr. Joel Curcio with Catholic Social Services.

“I am seeing a lot of satisfaction as they are leaving the fair,” she said.

This fair also provided assistance to the deaf or hearing impaired, with Denee Smith, an interpreter for the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Jackson.

Kerry Clanton and Benjamin Wagenknecht of Coldwater benefited from Smith’s help, applying for numerous job opportunities.

Clanton, who was born hearing impaired, said she and Wagenknecht are interested in working with individuals with Down’s Syndrome, mentally retarded children and deaf children in a special education environment.

“We’d really like to get involved with something like that,” she said.

The two have been looking for work in their specialty for about four months.

Wagenknecht graduated with a bachelor’s from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Clanton has an associate’s degree from Northwest Community College and two years of study at Gallaudet, Liberal Arts college that caters to undergraduates with impaired hearing. Clanton worked with family services three years in Maryland before deciding to return home.

Wagenknecht is from Boston.

Comments from employers this year were complimentary of the fair organizers and the turnout of applicants.

They included - “Would like to see job fair for Transportation Industry only; Very Organized; Good turnout of people; Best food at a job fair bar none; Well organized event; Attendance less than expected; not enough traffic; was very good and set up well; This is one of the best job fairs I’ve been to; Well organized; The support was great; Outstanding service.”

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