Job fair attendance up; organizers blame economy

By: Samantha Andre Email
By: Samantha Andre Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, October 7, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A job fair at Fort Gordon brings in about 30% more people than expected, and officials say it's due to the state of the economy.

The Dow Jones is down again, falling 508 points, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says these tough economic times aren't going away anytime soon.

"I'm looking for anything in social work," said Crystal Preston, who just finished school and wants to find a job here locally.

"I'm a people-person and I wanted to help people and that's why I chose social work," said Preston.

A job fair seemed the perfect place to look, and about 1900 other people thought so, too.

She talked to many companies, but she doesn't find any jobs in her area of interest.

"Human resources and staffing but no social work," she says.

As she looks, so does retiree Charlene Wilkerson. A former educator, she's looking for something with kids.

Her search takes her here to an information technology company, but they don't have anything for her.

"They have vendors from all over which is good if you want to travel. I don't," said Wilkerson.

Of about 70 companies at the fair, 19 are based locally and are hiring locally.

She asks an organizer about a company she read would be there, but he tells her they can celled. Disappointed, she gives up today, but hopes to find something later.

"I'm sure there will be. This is just first time I'm getting out of the house just to look," said Wilkerson.

As for Preston, MCG Health System seems to like her.

"She's a strong prospect. Currently I don't have any positions right now," said Leonard Alfred, a recruiter with the company.

They do have about 150 other openings, from lab techs to nurses, but Preston wishes one had her name on it.

"My chances right now may be slim...I just hope there's more positions coming open right now," said Preston.

A hiring company, Manpower, took an employment outlook survey. They found 22% of the 14,000 companies surveyed plan to hire over the next three months. However, 13% plan layoffs.


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