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Chasing a career

Gloria Jackson left the East Central Georgia Expo smiling.

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Sonja Smith (from right) and Lonettia Sparks from the Georgia Department of Human Resources talk to Paulette Walker.
Jason B. Smith
Even though the Washington, Ga.-resident had been recently laid off, the time she spent with several prospective employers at the Thomson Depot last Wednesday boosted her mood.

"This is my very first job fair," she said. "This is totally new to me. But I think I have a job if I want it now."

More than a dozen employers, schools and employment-help agencies set up booths in the Depot for the event, which also featured a series of classes on resume-building, interview skills and using the internet to help with job searching. By the end of the day, more than 500 people had registered at the front door, according to Mel Wages, Employment and Training Consultant Associate with the Georgia Department of Labor.

Participants -- both those looking for employees and those looking for jobs -- were thrilled with the event.

"This is really a nine out of a 10," said Lonettia Sparks, who works with the Georgia Department of Human Resources and recruits clients for the Georgia Department of Labor. "The people here are looking for everything, literally from professional work to production line work."

job_fair1.jpg

Lt. Jim Harvey, a recruiter with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, talks with Michelle Burley of Norwood about a job in law enforcement.
Jason B. Smith
She said the workshops were especially effective.

"We've got so many people here who don't even have a resume and don't know how to make one," she said.

Chasitiny Swain, who has been working outside of her field for more than two years, said the event allowed her to look into getting back to medical office or business office work.

"It's been hard to find a job," she said.

Paulette Walker used the career fair to help others. As a patient advocate with Enterprise Community Head Start -- an organization helping pregnant women in McDuffie and several surrounding counties learn job skills and find employment -- she perused the booths and picked up information to take back to the people she works with.

"Thank God, I am employed," she said, her arms full of folders, flyers and forms. "I'm getting all this for my clients.

Your Future, Inc., Case Manager Sharon Murray said the Expo allowed her group to focus on recruiting the 19-21-year-olds they help train.

"We've got a lot people signed up for the program," she said. "This is great. It would be nice if we could have another one soon."

job_fair4.jpg

Chasitiny Swain talks with YFI Case Manager Sharon Murray.
Jason B. Smith



Web posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2004


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