Big crowd turns out for region's largest job and career fair at JWCC

Dianne Boulware and Melody Bush speak with Knapheide Manufacting Co. Human Resource Specialist Joanne Beeler during the Region’s Largest Career Fair on Thursday at John Wood Community College. Local employers were on hand to meet prospective applicants. The event was sponsored by John Wood Community College, WGEM and The Herald-Whig. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 13, 2018 8:45 pm Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 9:19 pm

QUINCY -- The Student Activity Center at John Wood Community College was filled Thursday with people trying to make a good impression on others.

It was all part of the region's largest job and career fair -- a twice-a-year event sponsored by JWCC, WGEM and The Herald-Whig.

For three hours, 34 local employers sought to show prospective employees why they would be good places to work. Meanwhile, hundreds of job seekers went booth-to-booth asking questions and trying to show the employers why they would be worth hiring.

The goal was to help match the right person with the right job -- and make both sides happy in the long run.

"It's a win-win for both the potential employees as well as the employers," said Herald-Whig Marketing Manager Eric Wait, who helped organize the event.

The job and career fair "provides a platform not only for individuals seeking a job or a career, but it allows companies to have that face-to-face interaction," Wait said.

"That's what a job fair is all about. It's the opportunity to speak directly to a representative of a company to not only inquire about what positions they are actively trying to fill but find out about the culture and the benefits," he said. "It's an efficient way for someone to try to find employment."

Dick Tabb, a specialist in career services and technical education at JWCC, said the job and career fair is a great way for people to learn about job openings. But it also gave JWCC a chance to showcase the community college's training programs and career services.

"You don't need to have a four-year degree or even a two-year degree to be able to find a good-paying career," Tabb said.

"There are folks here who are either looking for new careers or just -- for some of them -- their first real job. There are so many people who are in that kind of zone. They don't know what exactly they're looking for. We always tell them to go to every booth because you never know what somebody is looking for."

At the Hannibal Regional Hospital booth, for example, clinical recruiter Amy Lakenburger was happy to tell prospective employees about all the jobs available in nursing-related areas. But that's not all the hospital offers.

"We have a lot of different positions, whether it's working in our cafeteria, in our IT (information technology) department, or in maintenance. We always are having different positions come available. So it's not just nursing, although we definitely have that."

Several trucking companies and local factories seeking employees were represented at the job fair.

Randy Luker, safety and recruiting supervisor for Gully Transportation, said the job fair is a good opportunity to make contact with potential new truck drivers, who are always in big demand.

"It's good to get your name out locally and show people what you have to offer," Luker said. "I mean, we're a trucking company. But we also offer office positions, mechanic work -- not just truck driving."

Tony Britton, a JWCC freshman, spent part of the day going from table to table seeing what kinds of job opportunities might be available for him in the future.

"I think it's a great start for people," he said. "I'm going for my nursing degree, so I see a bunch of nursing jobs here."

Megan Schmidt, who recently graduated from Quincy High School, said she hasn't decided what career to pursue, but she liked learning about the wide range of job opportunities available in the Quincy area.

"They should have these more often," she said. "It's a great way to get my foot in the door as I'm kind of figuring out what I want in life."

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