May 14, 2009
Hundreds attend Job Fair in Athens
Hundreds of people from all walks of life took part in the fifth annual Job Fair at the Athens Community Center.
The April 29 event attracted people who had recently lost their jobs due to layoffs, individuals who were looking to move into new careers, high school and college graduates hoping to land their first jobs and many people who desperately need to find work.
The Job Fair, which is an annual event, was sponsored by The Work Station in The Plains and the One-Stop Employment and Training Centers from Hocking, Vinton, Perry and Meigs counties, along with the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. This year, more than 400 people attended and met with representatives from nearly 80 employers and educational institutions at the event. More than half of those attending were from Athens County, but the Job Fair also attracted a large number of people from Hocking County, along with people from nine other southern Ohio counties and West Virginia.
Rows upon rows of tables were set up in the gymnasium at the Athens Community Center for businesses and organizations to set up their own information booths. Several colleges, universities and military organizations were also on hand to discuss the programs and services that they offer. Job seekers walked up and down the lines of booths, stopping to ask about the type of job opportunities available and, in many cases, turning in resumes or filling out applications.
Here are a few comments from people at the Job Fair:
• One area resident who is losing her job at Ohio University due to layoffs explained that she wanted to keep working until the time her position was supposed to end. She was told that she should not come to work anymore, though, so now she is not sure what to do. She is diligently looking for her next job and is considering part-time work until she can find full-time work. While she is happy that the university is providing assistance, she is also very disappointed in losing a job that she enjoyed. In addition, she was planning to use the tuition waiver to send her children to college in a few years, but without the job at the university, she will have to find another way to pay for college.
• Another woman, when asked what type of work she was looking for, just replied “anything.” She needs any sort of job she can find right now. She said she is considering going to college to study radiology, but is not sure if she can make that happen or not.
• One Ohio University student is earning his master’s degree in June and is looking for work. He also attended a Job Fair in Columbus on the same day, and said he does not have too many leads yet on work.
• One former small business owner in Athens was also at the Job Fair looking for work. He filled out applications for jobs he had never even thought of applying for before. He is not sure what type of work he wants to do next, or what jobs he is qualified for, but he needs the work and hopes to find a position soon.
• One man who was looking for work also discussed the credit card debt problem that he and his wife are facing. The debt is from her first marriage, and he said it should not even be their responsibility. It is causing them numerous problems, though, and collection agencies have been calling the house. He needs some help to get rid of the debt, and is looking into different options. He is also looking for a new job.
• Several young people were well dressed and eager to shake hands and ask questions about job opportunities. Several employers commented that they were impressed with the quality of applicants at the Job Fair. One woman said she did not know what to expect before she arrived, but she talked with two very strong applicants who will definitely be considered for jobs that her company needs to fill.
• Many of the applicants at the Job Fair said they are worried about how they are going to pay their bills and keep their homes while they are looking for work. At the same time, though, many were also filled with hope, confident they would find the jobs they need.
While the Job Fair is an annual event, The Work Station in The Plains is open every week, Monday through Friday to help area residents find work. Career counselors help to connect individuals with local companies and organizations looking for work, and a job posting board gives details on openings in the community. Training programs and assistance with college are also available through The Work Station. For more information on how the different programs at The Work Station can help you, call 797-1405.
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