More than 500 people attended the Seneca County Jobs Fair Monday. Nearly 50 businesses were actively seeking employees at Tiffin University's Heminger Center.
Commissioner Holly Stacy said the planning committee included Tiffin, Fostoria, economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, the county, the Department of Jobs and Family Services and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana.
"It took a whole group of people to pull this all together, and we're hoping for a great success today," Stacy said to the room full of potential employers before the doors opened to jobseekers.
Jordan said the jobs fair idea came about when business owners across Ohio's 4th District kept telling him that they were in need of employees.
"So we decided, let's be helpful and facilitate an event like this where we can bring employers together with potential employees," Jordan said before the fair started.
He said despite a bad tax policy and an "unbelievably complex healthcare" policy, among other setbacks, many businesses in the county are succeeding and competing.
"If you're going to have an environment that is conducive to economic growth, you've got to have a tax policy that makes sense," he said.
Jordan also said there may be an opportunity to scale back or suspend Obamacare.
"Never forget it's America - it's still the greatest nation ever, never forget that," Jordan said. "It is a special, special place."
Stacy said the businesses were very pleased with the applicants, most of whom were very prepared.
"It was a great event for a first-time effort," Stacy said after the fair had ended.
She said there were 499 folders with information of all the participating businesses that were given to jobseekers upon entering the job fair. She said the fair ran out of folders before the event ended.
The doors opened at noon, an hour early, for the 55 potential employees who qualified for the job fair's VIP program.
Stacy said the idea originated from another job fair that she had visited, and the qualifying VIP members had their resumes sent to all participating businesses before Monday's event.
She said many of the VIP members were from Sentinel Career Center.
John Detwiler, president and CEO of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services said he was excited about the potential of the job fair.
"This is good stuff, and certainly we're excited about what's going on here," Detwiler said. "More importantly, the potential employers are really excited about this. Everybody's buzzed up and hopefully we can fill some jobs today and downstream as well."
Rich Focht, president and CEO of Seneca Economic and Industrial Development Corp., said it was impressive to see a large number of companies looking to hire, and he hopes the fair will become an annual event.
"I think that doing this for the first time there's going to be a lot of things we're going to learn," Focht said.
Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz and Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler also attended.
"I think it's a great opportunity for anyone in Seneca County looking for a job or a career change," Montz said.
Keckler said he was excited how the job fair came together, and he said before the event began that he was curious how many people from Fostoria attend.
Representatives from Sen. Rob Portman and State Auditor Dave Yost's offices also were present at the fair.
Tori Norris of the auditor's office said the office was looking to hire new auditors and to support Jordan.
Lois Rex of Old Fort Bank said in addition to looking for new employees, the bank wanted to show its support for the fair.
Pam Moyer of CROSSWAEH said the jobs fair is a great idea and she hopes there are more in the future.
"We wanted to support community activities, and also we're looking for good help that's local," Moyer said.
In addition to nearly 50 employers, there also were seven educational institutions at the event.
Allen Shultz of Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center said the school attended the fair to promote its students and promote the skills students can learn at the school.
Steven Hillard of Owens Community College, Findlay campus, said the event was a good opportunity to give back to Jordan, who has helped Owens with grants, and the community.
Hillard and Kathy Berger, of Terra State Community College, said their schools offer specific skills that many fair vendors require from employees.
Heidelberg University, Tiffin University and Brown Mackie College also were present at the fair.
Three employment services were present to help jobseekers with their searches.