Months of work lead to job fair
Monday’s job fair will be the culmination of the efforts of several entities to help boost the economic development in Seneca County, two county commissioners said.
Commissioners Holly Stacy and Fred Zoeller have worked over the past few months to promote the Seneca County Job Fair, which is to take place 14:30 p.m. Monday at Tiffin University’s Heminger Center.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, Seneca County Department Job and Family Services and Tiffin and Fostoria city governments, chambers of commerce and economic development corporations helped put together a job fair to improve the employment in the county.
“I think regardless of our outcome which we’re very optimistic about, based on where we’re at right now it’s still a success because we’re going to learn a lot,” Stacy said. “No matter if we have 300 people come through the door, if we have 100 people through to door or 800 people.”
She said there will be educational venues that will help potential employers get training for specific skills.
“We’re trying to be the conduit to have everybody fit together,” Zoeller said.
There are to be 51 employers, three employment services and seven education institutions at the fair.
Stacy said the criteria for business and employers is they must either be hiring or are planning on hiring in the immediate future.
Zoeller said the jobs fair has three major goals: To connect employers and employees, promote Seneca County and educate area youth on how to search for jobs and act in a professional setting.
He said there are 300 good paying, available jobs in the county, adding there are many good opportunities in Seneca County.
He said the jobs fair is not to focus as much on education due to the shortage of preparation time, but it is something future jobs fairs are to focus on.
“We had lots of grandiose ideas about things, and we narrowed it down to what was manageable, doable in the short timeframe,” Stacy said. “Our first year, first effort, we wanted to do it well.”
Zoeller said there is an excess of available jobs and many people out of work in Seneca County. According to the most recent Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Civilian Labor Force Estimate, Seneca County had a 7.8 percent unemployment rate in March.
The county’s rate is higher than the state in that same time period, which had a 7.1 percent jobless rate, and the national average of 7.6 percent.
Zoeller said in future fairs he’d like to see more information presented to potential employees about a drug-free workplace.
“We continue to have a problem in Seneca County of drugs in the work place, and people that can pass a drug test and so forth,” he said. “But I will say, yes there is somewhat of a problem in this county, it seems to be worse in other counties.”
Zoeller said he hopes the fair will draw people in from out of town to potentially work and possibly move into the county.
“It is truly win-win-win,” he said. “Maybe this is an opportunity, if we bring people in, maybe the youth or even the adults in this community that have got drug issues will have to kick that habit because there is increased competition in the workforce.”
He said there is a good quality of life in the county, which could attract people who live in more dangerous parts of the state.
“A nice, safe environment, that’s always been my key to economic development,” Zoeller said. “We don’t have a four-laner, but by God, we got a good, safe environment here.”
Stacy said the Seneca County One Stop and Career Center will be present at the fair to help people build skills to make them more employable.
“I’m not speaking for all job seekers out there, but there’s a number of them, it’s time to pick yourself up by your boot straps and shake off the adverse situations that you’re in,” she said. “Re-tool yourself because there’s jobs here.”
Zoeller said there will be a dress code for the job fair, which will require job seekers to dress as they were going to a job interview.
“We’re trying to educate the youth and adults how to conduct (themselves) at a job interview,” he said.
Stacy said Goodwill Industries has worked with the department of job and family services to provide displays with examples of appropriate attire for a job interview.
“You need to be one step above what you would wear to that job at work everyday,” she said. “If you normally wear khakis and a buttoned shirt, then maybe you ought to be one step above that and wear a tie.”
Job seekers are asked to bring a resume to the job fair. If they do not have a resume, there will be resources provided to show them how to build one, she said.
The job fair also is to offer a VIP program, which will allow 55 individuals, who met certain qualifications, to enter the fair an hour before it is open to the rest of the public.
They will get a name badge, first access to employers and a copy of their resume will be sent to all of participating employers at the fair, Stacy said.
“(Employers) are going to know these are the people that went the extra mile,” she said. “That’s important. I emphasize that to my kids all the time; you have to go above and beyond.”
In addition to the VIP program, Veterans also are to be honored with a name badge signifying they have served in the military. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will have its veterans services program present at the fair.
“Commissioner Stacy is really spear-heading this and has done just a tremendous job,” Zoeller said. “She’s taken a very active role.”
Zoeller said a jobs fair typically takes about a year of planning, and Stacy and the other committees involved have planned the Seneca County Jobs Fair in two months.
Stacy said there are 89 individuals, including those enlisted in the VIP program, who have registered for the fair.
“The pre-registered got a jump on it,” Zoeller said. “There’s advantages to being prepared.”
For more information, visit the One Stop’s section of the department of job family services website at djfs.co.seneca.oh.us. To register, visit djfs.co.seneca.oh.us/cmsmadesimple/index.php?page=job-fair-registration.