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Career fair draws 57 employers
by Heather Smith, The Enquirer Journal, April 28, 2012

The campus of South Piedmont Community College was humming with job-hunters Friday morning.

This year’s career fair featured 57 companies looking for new employees and more than 375 attendees had signed in as of 11:30 a.m., fair organizer Linda Kappauf said.

“I think we actually improved the numbers as far as getting employers here,” Kappauf said.

Getting employers to participate in the fair has been difficult in the past few years because of the recession.

“Some of these companies were laying people off or cutting employees’ hours,” she said. “So they felt kind of funny - as they should - about coming here for a career fair when they were letting people go.”

Now, the economy has improved slightly, encouraging large and small businesses to expand and hire more employees.

Nearly every major manufacturer in Union County was represented, Kappauf said. There were human resources officials from medical equipment companies, nursing centers, staffing agencies and banks. There were also a good number of fire and law enforcement departments recruiting new members.

“We’re always looking for good employees who want a good place to work,” Darnel Inc. Human Resources Director Robert Guy said. He was there recruiting for entry level manufacturing jobs. This is the second year Darnel participated in the SPCC career fair, and Guy said it was a good opportunity to meet and get resumes from job-seekers who might not otherwise seek them out.

That face-to-face contact is what led recent University of North Carolina graduate Jordan Salo to the career fair. He has looked unsuccessfully for a job for about nine months in the sales or medical fields.

“I’ve been looking mostly online for jobs,” Salo said. “This is the first career fair I’ve been to, and I figured it was good to talk to people face-to-face. You meet them and ask them what kind of jobs they have open and what kind of employee they’re looking for.”

Even if the contact does not turn into an immediate hire, Kappauf said the interaction can help with job searches down the road.

“This is a really good chance for prospective employees to talk and network with business people,” Kappauf said. “Some of them might want to try for jobs within the large corporations, but the smaller companies are growing, too. You never know where that opportunity is going to lie.”

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