Expo center administrator Lou Trlica said that there were fewer employers present than in the past, probably due to fewer jobs being available.
However, many booths were eager for the publicity and the fresh applicant pool.
“We have mostly high school students coming today,” said Trlica. “Law enforcement and the [military] service are good opportunities for them.”
The Marine Corps wasted no time attracting visitors to their booth as anyone interested could test their strength by doing pull-ups. This also attracted more people to the booth.
“The pull-ups give them something to do, and we have strength requirements, so they give us an idea of where they are,” said J.C. Kelmell, Marine Corps staff sergeant and recruiter. “Most of these kids are too young to join, so we have them give us their information, and then we mail them something to keep us in mind.”
Other opportunities for soon-to-be high school graduates were available also.
State Farm was mainly targeting business professionals but said that insurance was a good industry for young people also because they could make a living and start a solid career without a college degree.
Coastal Bend College was also represented. College officials particularly wanted people in the community who were not current high school students to know about their programs.
Many of the high school students who attended the fair were juniors planning for their future, not quite ready to enter the workforce.
“I think [the fair] is pretty interesting,” said Corey Ragland, a Beeville high school junior.
“It’s giving us a lot of ideas for what to do in the future,” added fellow junior Amber Rothlisberger.
Several students from Goliad High School had similar purposes in mind, as they looked for information about nursing careers.
The medical field was a popular one at the fair. Janet Vanness, nurse at First Fruits Medical Clinic, had to send for more applications within the first hour. She stressed that the clinic offered positions beyond nurses and doctors that required much less education.
“I’m telling kids that if they go to medical assisting school, which is a six- to nine-month program, they can actually do their internship at our clinic,” Vanness said.
Students weren’t the only ones benefiting from the fair. Bonnie Aguilar, who hadn’t been in the job market in 17 years, said that the booths were helpful because employers were willing to explain the positions thoroughly.
“It’s a lot better than if you just went into their office,” said Aguilar. “Here, they have more time to talk to you.”
Diana Perez, who was looking for clerical work, said that she attended to see what was available and to apply for the positions she wanted.
The fair enabled her to apply for multiple jobs in a short amount of time.
Despite the still-tough economy, Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend, a nonprofit organization which helps job-seekers find openings and work on resumes and applications, said that they didn’t see much difference in the amount of available jobs from the past couple of years.
They emphasized that determined seekers should have no problem finding employment.
Sarah Taylor is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at sarah@mySouTex.com.