Thursday, March 8, 2007
Job Fair draws interest
By SUE WATSON
Despite inclement weather, job seekers met with a battery of 41 employers to make the Marshall-Benton Area Job Fair another success Thursday.
The fair was attended by youth from both counties and good numbers of adults looking for their next good job.
Over 500 job seekers turned out for the fair. They made a total of 1,910 visits to employers’ booths, meaning each applicant on average visited with four employers, according to the job fair results report. Four hundred twenty-five resumes were submitted and 235 job offers were made the day of the fair. This fair is expected to result in 283 hires.
Joe Buckner with the Governor’s Job Fair Network, Gary Mills with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Jessica Jordan with Three Rivers Planning and Development District and area volunteers said they had a good day helping job seekers match up with prospective employers.
One hundred forty-three job seekers were at the Eddie Lee Smith Jr. Multi-Purpose Building within 30 minutes after the doors opened, according to JOe Buckner with Mississippi Job Fair Network.
It was the first job fair many job seekers had attended, including Arlene Wicks, Irma Woodson, Alicia Davis and Verneda Taylor, who said they were “surprised at the turnout.”
They said they were interested in factory, warehousing or secretarial work.
“This is my hometown and I just moved back December 23,” said Woodson. “I hope to have some luck.”
Travis Jones, Teon Hammonds and Tommy and Peco Jones from Ashland High School said they wanted military jobs “to help prepare them for life.”
Martha Lester talked with Jeff Crosse with Cargill Animal Nutrition which will be moving its manufacturing operations to Byhalia soon.
Lester asked Crosse about opportunities to advance at Cargill. He replied that he had started out in bagging and had “worked his way up.”
Wendy Wambo, of Snow Lake, was given one-on-one guidance through the process by Jordan, while Buckner recounted helping those who were leaving saying they had no luck, to change their minds and go back to talk with employers who had jobs they were interested in.
Wambo said she is looking for work closer to home rather than commuting to Memphis. She left with a number of business cards and other materials and left several applications with employers.
Buckner said oftentimes people need personal help in matching up with the right employer, something he does at every job fair. He said job seekers sometimes have a difficult time engaging with employers without someone to give them encouragement and support.
Mills brought the Mobile Win Job Center to the fair. He is introducing the mobile center at job fairs and it is also used throughout the state when a new industry needs to process thousands of applications on site.
The van is equipped with computers and job seekers can go online to look at job listings and in some cases fill out an application for the job they want.
MDES just introduced its online job application process dubbed MOJO (Mississippi Online Job Opportunities).
Many industries take all their job applications online now, he said.
Anyone interested in looking at job listings can visit www.mdes.ms.gov to review job listings and click on the MOJO button at that site to find some job applications that go with some of the listings at the MDES website.
Mills said MOJO both screens job applicants for the qualifications that match up with a job listing and also offers a job application mechanism.
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