Approximately 400 people from around the region attended the Spring Job Fair at the Athens Community Center on Wednesday, April 21, and many were able to apply for and interview for jobs on the spot.
Sponsored by the One Stop employment offices of Athens, Meigs and Perry counties, the job fair attracted around 70 booths run by employers, educational organizations and community groups. The majority of booths were run by employers, and many of the business representatives said that their companies are currently hiring.
Several area residents who were at the job fair discussed the types of jobs they are looking for and also discussed the challenges they are currently facing. Following are comments from a few of the job fair visitors, whose names were changed in this article.
Joe, who lives in Glouster resident, attended the job fair and said he was pleased with the number of employers who were on hand. He filled out several applications during the day and said he was open to applying for a wide range of jobs.
“Really anything,” Joe said. He applied for a few jobs in sales and customer service at the job fair and would like to eventually get into a growing field such as health care, if possible.
He has been unemployed for two years and said it has been difficult. Joe has been searching for full-time work with no luck, and has done odd jobs and received some help from friends. He recently was approved for food assistance (formerly known as food stamps), and is extremely thankful for the food benefit.
He had avoided applying for assistance, but friends and family members suggested that he should. Now, he is thankful for the help while he continues to search for work.
Lori, who lives in Nelsonville, also attended the job fair, hoping to find a full-time job. She faces a common problem,though, that is holding her back.
“I didn’t turn in many applications because I don’t have a car to get to most of the jobs,” Lori said. “I am looking for a job in Nelsonville that I can walk to.” Without a steady job, she has no way to pay for a car, but without a car it is difficult to get a steady job.
Eventually, she would like to work in nursing or in another healthcare position, but she has not been trained in these areas yet. For now, she is hoping to find any job that she can walk to, and is hoping to find something soon so that she can better support her child.
Lori currently receives Ohio Works First cash assistance and also takes part in the work program at Hocking Athens Perry Community Action. She is thankful for the assistance she receives and enjoys being a part of the work program.
“They help you get a lot of experience,” she said, adding that she has worked on several different types of work projects so far.
Doug, who lives in Nelsonville, was looking for a job in management, retail or sales at the job fair, and was pleased with some of the employers he was able to speak with. He has experience in sales and in running a small business.
Doug had planned on making his living through his own small business, but the country’s economic problems hurt his business just like countless others.
It has been tough trying to get by, but Reed has hope that he will get a new job soon.
Julie, Tina and Mary attended the job fair hoping to find new job opportunities.
Julie said she was looking for a position in home health, while Tina and Mary were looking for any available jobs. Tina has already earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice and would also like to work in that field.
The three friends all said it has been difficult to get by without a full-time job, and they are hoping to find something soon.
Nancy, who lives in Athens, previously worked in healthcare in Athens, but explained that there are not a lot of jobs in her field locally.
“I’m good at what I do,” Nancy said, adding that she enjoys the work, too. She did find a few job opportunities at the job fair and is hoping to get a new job soon.
But while she is unemployed, Nancy is having a hard time getting by. A single mom with two children at home, Nancy’s other daughter just moved back home, along with her daughter’s husband and child. Families all across the region are having to move in with each other in order to save money, and Nancy is seeing this firsthand right now. She now has a household of six, and is anxious to find a new job soon so that she can better support her family.
Each year, The Work Station along with the One Stop offices in Meigs and Perry counties holds the job fair in order to help area residents meet with local employers. And each year, a large number of people find work through the contacts made at the job fair. The three offices also help people with their job searches throughout the year.
All Athens County residents are invited to stop by The Work Station, located at 70 North Plains Road in The Plains, Mondays through Fridays for help searching for work, preparing for job interviews and finding a new career. All of the services are provided for free. For more information, call The Work Station at 797-1405.