More than 170 job seekers turned out for a job fair for Carver Recreation Center Thursday that offered an opportunity to file applications with more than 20 hiring employers in the Tri-Cities area.
Hosted by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and state Rep. Matthew Hill, the job fair also offered assistance and information from three local job training organizations and a chance to step inside the TDLWD’s Career Coach, one of three tractor trailers rigged with laptop stations and smart boards that travel the state to help put people to work.
“They’re in here helping folks prepare their resumes. They’re filling out applications. And we’ve had people who have gotten jobs here today,” Hill said.
“We’ve had a good turnout. And a lot of people are hiring and we’ve registered about 175 (job seekers),” Melinda Williams, TDLWD’s administrator of marketing and communications, reported about three hours into the four-hour job fair.
Hill said he selected the Recreation Center for the job fair because of its central location and because unemployment in the Carver community is higher than in other areas of his district. He attributed the good turnout in part to area media outlets who used the job fair as a tie-in to news of a Johnson City plant closing on Wednesday.
Job applicants came from as close as East Tennessee State University and as far away as Bluff City. Employers taking applications and hiring workers included Aflac, Snap-on Tools, the Head Start preschool program and numerous call centers, home health companies and nursing homes. And job training programs offering assistance included the Tennessee Technology Center in Elizabethton, Northeast State Community College of Blountville and King Colllege of Bristol.
“My mom told me about it and I said, ‘Hey, job fair. Great,’ ” said Samantha Tangel, a 20-year-old psychology major at ETSU who is in search of her first job. “I’m filling out applications. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get anything. But it doesn’t hurt to try,” she said.
Up to her elbows in paperwork, Tangel said she would also be submitting applications online but expressed some doubt about their effectiveness. “If you can’t show them a face or something to stand out from the millions, I don’t think it’s going to do any good,” she said.
Ron Hammontree, the TDLWD’s director of buisness office services, said most companies now require online applications and that’s what the Career Coach was there to help with.
Inside the mobile center, he said, people go online to register with the Tennesseee Career Center, a TDLWD program that matches their job skills with hiring employers in their area, allows them to submit applications and refers them for interviews.
“I think it’s great,” said Patti Towner, a former Sullivan County who recently re-entered the job market after a disabling injury three years ago. Unable to continue in law enforcement and searching for a clerical position in the Career Coach on Tuesday, Towner said, “There are a lot of people out there, people with disabilities and people in general, who are really looking for work.”
Assistance from the Career Center may be accessed online at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/cc/ or may be obtained by calling the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 615-741-6642.
Area employers taking applications and hiring at Thursday’s job fair included AB&T, ACT, Advanced Wireless Solutions, Aflac, Aid & Assist at Home, Appalachian Christian Village, AtWork, Brock Services, the Center on Aging & Health, Century Link, Dial America, Express Employment Professionals, Head Start, In Home Care, Legacy Home Care, Roan Highlands Nursing Center, Snap On Tools, StaffPro and Super 8 Motel.