MOV Job Fair draws more than 30 businesses looking to hire

MARIETTA – Those seeking employment and employees gathered at the Mid-Ohio Valley Jobs Fair Thursday, an event that drew more than 30 businesses all looking to hire in 2014.

The fair was free and open to the public, sponsored by the college and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, opening up for Washington State Community College students at 4 p.m. and then the community at 4:30 p.m.

“I have been at Washington State for about a year, and it’s been one of my goals to have a job fair, and it’s been a number of years since we’ve had one,” said Nicole Kuhn, assistant director of admissions at Washington State Community College.

From health professions to customer service employers, a wide variety of industries were represented, including retailers and chain services like Lowe’s and Speedway and companies like Marietta Memorial Hospital and Allied Machine and Engineering.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring local job seekers to one location with lots of employers, and it’s a great way to get connected,” Kuhn said. “And we have partnerships with businesses for job placements and internships available that people are excited about.”

A small crowd filled the fair early on with job-seekers ranging in age.

“I’m graduating in May, so it’s crunch time, and I really want to start looking for options,” said Myranda Warfield, 21, of Marietta. “I’m a psychology major with a minor in business, but I would like to find something more in the business end of it, and there are a lot of businesses here.”

Extras, the support staff division of Winans Services, was participating in the fair to recruit for the year. The company specializes in janitorial maintenance and contracted services.

“We want people to know we’re still hiring, and we’re always looking for new blood,” said Matt Winans, marketing executive for the company.

Winans contracts services, from janitorial to fire restoration, in all parts of Ohio, and parts of Kentucky and West Virginia.

“This is also a great opportunity to network with other employers,” said Jennifer Stehly, a Winans customer service leader.

Jon Duke, 50, of Marietta was at the fair, and is hoping to get into a job where he can use his skills in engineering drafting.

“I’m here to enjoy it, but I would of course enjoy it even better if I could get a job out of it,” he said.

Brown’s office helped coordinate the event, which was targeted to allow students, unemployed adults as well as employed adults who might be looking for more work to attend.

“They are helping us reach out to employers to help get the word out,” Kuhn said. “We want to help the local economy as much as possible, so we want employers to know there are great job seekers here.”

In addition to the employers, job service resources like Washington-Morgan Community Action, Mid-Ohio Valley Veteran and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities were available to provide assistance.

Candy Nelson, an employment supervisor for Washington County Job and Family Services, said having these opportunities and services available is a healthy resource for the local economy.

“It’s a great thing they do for students; it shows me that they’re proactive, and it’s something you should expect when you’re spending money,” she said. “And for the public, it’s just one more resource we can use to help them find work.”

The state of Ohio places counties in regions to measure for job outlook. Region 11 covers Washington, Athens, Monroe, Morgan, Meigs, Noble, Perry and Hocking counties and has its own unique job outlook.

Projections from 2008 to 2018 show that heating/AC, medical assistants, personal and home care aides, medical secretaries and physicians and surgeons are among the top five fastest growing professions in Region 11.

Washington County’s unemployment rate as of January was 7.3 percent, ranking it 54th highest of the 88 Ohio counties for unemployment.

Ohio’s unemployment as a whole has decreased steadily after the 2008 recession, and at 2013 was at 7.3 percent, and is now at 6.9 percent.

Though the county’s ranking puts it into the better half of the state as far as employment, officials still there is still a lot of room for improvement.

“We are extremely busy right now. We do work by phone, but people are still streaming into the office, and I can’t even guess how much were doing a day,” Nelson said.

She said positions like food service and truck driving are two of the several industries locally that are seeing job growth.

“Lately I’ve had a lot of employers calling me with jobs, offering both higher wages and low, minimum wages,” Nelson said.