Diverse crowd visits job fair

Published 11:38 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

Approximately 250 people came seeking work at the job fair on Wednesday in the Regional Workforce Development Center.

Diane Laine, representing Southampton Memorial Hospital, said she had already seen “very good interest” that morning, adding that those she saw were diversified.

One of the job seekers, Glenn Hart of Franklin, said he was seeking any job he could get. He’s been a machine operator by trade, previously having worked at Smithfield Foods and Boar’s Head.

Susan Hodges of ST Tissue noticed that those people at the fair “seemed like a young crowd.” She directed applicants to first take the Work Keys test.

Denise Byrum, formerly of the Hungry Rooster in Boykins, found a position at Bojangles after she closed the restaurant a few years ago. She and Robbie Everidge were at the fair seeking capable employees. Byrum also said she thought the people were diverse in experience, age and gender. Applications could be done online and she would be doing the reviewing.

Dustin Bowles and Tomi Rightenburg of Enviva also saw a “good mix of diversity in background and experience” as they took resumes.

Joey Collins of Human Resources for Waverly Health and Rehabilitation Center, returned to the fair. He recalled that two people who applied last year were hired in 2017.

“Networking is good for everybody,” he said.

Willie Vaughan of Windsor, who said he has experience operating forklifts, was there to apply at International Paper, ST Tissue and Cost Plus World Market.

Sean Marston of Boykins, said one of the booths he visited was for Hampton Farms. The 18-year-old said he had no specific career goal at the time.

“I’m still trying to figure that out,” he said.

Amanda Jarratt, president and CEO of the Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., said she had seen a steady flow of people coming in.

“It’s great to see them engaged with employers,” she said. “Our job is to match people with employers. It’s fulfilling [when that happens.]”