County job fair links employers, workers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2000

Jane Craddock could not find the words to describe Wednesday’s Job Fair.

Thursday, June 08, 2000

Jane Craddock could not find the words to describe Wednesday’s Job Fair.

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"There’s just been an overwhelming response," Ms. Craddock said, standing in Ohio University Southern Campus’ Riffe Center.

Only a small stack of green information forms remained from the more than 400 printed earlier in the week, the Workforce Development Resource Center job developer said.

"It’s sad so many people are out of work, or looking for better jobs," Ms. Craddock said.

"But that’s what we did it for," she said. "We wanted to provide something for the people of Lawrence County who lost jobs or need help."

The resource center’s second annual Job Fair put employers looking to hire workers into the same room with those job seekers.

Hundreds filled out job application forms for, the CAO, AK Steel, STAR Community Justice Center, Applied Card Systems, home health agencies, the U.S. Army, River Valley Health System, Columbus corporations, Ironton’s newest manufacturer – Liebert Corp. – and many others.

"There’s a variety of employers who want to hire above minimum wage," Ms. Craddock said.

Even if local employment is increasing, considering the area’s economic development efforts, job recovery takes time and job fairs are one way to help, Ms. Craddock said.

Companies like them too because they can get a lot of qualified applicants quickly, she added.

While handing out bags of information to job seekers, Ms. Craddock looked around at more than 40 tables of potential employers.

"They are overjoyed with the response," she said.

Terri Gipson of Safe Harbor shelter in Ashland, Ky., taking applications for case workers, said she will make calls on many she received.

"We have some wonderful qualified applicants," she said, adding there are more than if Safe Harbor had advertised.

"And it’s much more beneficial to see people face-to-face."

Although Joseph Hawes of Huntington, W.Va., came to find an extra job now that he’s retired, he said the job fair is an opportunity that came just in time.

"It’s an opportunity to talk to as many employers as possible," he said. "They are an excellent idea that cities never supported in the past. And now it’s great that they are."

Ms. Craddock said the Workforce Development Resource Center hopes to continue the Job Fair trend for many years to come, despite the economies twists and turns.

The fairs are necessary to link workers to what is out there in the job market, she said.

"For example, if an Ironton iron worker were not willing to relocate, they may have to go into another field," she said. "This is a good place to get a feel for that and talk to different employers in different areas."

Job Fair 2000 was an overall effort of the WDRC, OUSC, Ohio Bureau of Employment Services and other agencies.

The WDRC is located at 123 N. Third St. in Ironton.