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Job seekers flock to Chevy Centre



Published: Wed, September 26, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

More than 90 businesses

registered for the event.

By ANGIE SCHMITT

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — Shortly after the Chevrolet Centre’s doors opened for Job Expo 2007, Catherine Waites, 24, and Charles Green, 37, were at a crowded table feverishly filling out job applications.

Green was laid off from Star Extruded Shapes in Canfield last month; Waites, from Datco Manufacturing in Boardman long before.

But Waites had already found a potential solution in Starr Manufacturing on Tuesday. Green was considering signing on with a temporary staffing agency.

Their enthusiasm was matched by the approximately 90 employers who had tables set up at the event, said Jack Hile, manager of the Columbiana County One-Stop, a government agency that pairs job seekers with employers and a host of the event. One-Stop of Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties partnered with the Regional Chamber, East Liverpool Area Chamber of Commerce, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Youngstown for the event.

“There’s jobs out there,” said Hile. “There’s a huge demand. [But employers] kind of want people with more skills.”

Helping job seekers

One-Stop was one of 25 training organizations that took part in the job fair. The agency was prepared to offer job seekers training or financial aid for job training, should employers demand it, said Jessica Borza, a spokeswoman for the organization. She estimated that about 4,000 attended this year’s event, set on the floor of the Chevrolet Centre. Attendees backed up traffic down Market Street and crowded around the entrance before the opening at noon.

“If a job seeker is out talking to an employer and finds out he needs more skills to be marketable, we really want to be a one-stop,” she said.

Hile said One-Stop was targeting job seekers with an interest in, or background in, health care, information technology or advanced manufacturing.

Among the fair’s enthusiastic employers was Boardman-based Homecare with Heart, according to the company’s operations director, Stephen Jones. The company has grown to 140 employees since it was launched in 2004, said Jones. Meanwhile the demand for in-home health care and living assistance to the elderly and disabled has grown dramatically, he said.

“We’re always hiring,” said Jones. “We turn away a lot of [customers] because of lack of qualified employees.”

Jones was looking for state-tested nursing assistants, people with a wide range of availability and a reliable car. But personality characteristics are important to selection process as well, he said.

“We do a lot by gut instinct — are they friendly, or how do they look.”

Banking opportunities

Brian Alfred of Huntington Bank was seeking bank tellers, personal bankers and customer service representatives for his company’s 33 area locations, he said. Huntington’s demand for employees increased recently because of a recent merger with Sky Bank. But high turnover in entry-level positions has always plagued the banking industry, he said. Alfred said he was having some success with recruitment at this year’s fair.

“I think the traffic’s great,” he said. There have been “several sharp candidates so far that I’ve seen.”

Job seeker William J. Yelverton II circulated the fair with a résumé meant specifically for Huntington Bank. The recent Youngstown State University graduate had researched the companies that would appear at the fair on the One-Stop Web site and tailored a résumé to each one that fit his focus in finance.

Although Yelverton, a 34-year-old from Youngstown’s South Side, said he’s already had three job offers, he wanted to explore all his options.

“I’m optimistic that something will happen,” he said.

aschmitt@vindy.com


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