Representatives from 48 companies had the chance to meet with 200 job seekers who attended the fourth annual Jefferson County Career Fair, held Oct. 19 at the Fox C-6 Service Center in Arnold .
The job fair, presented by Express Employment Professionals, was also sponsored by Leader Publications, the Arnold Chamber of Commerce, Fox School District C-6, the City of Arnold and Jefferson College.
“There was a good flow of applicants,” said Cody Ballah, owner of Express Employment Professionals.
He said the job fair also offered local employers the chance to connect with each other.
“It’s nice to be around other employers who share their ideas and see what’s happening in the industries,” Ballah said. “Employers learn from each other. There is a community aspect to this. It’s good for employers and active candidates to come together.
In total, about 300 people attended the event. In addition to business representatives and job seekers, student council members from Fox and Seckman High Schools were on hand to greet those who showed up for the event.
About 500 people attended last year’s job fair, including about 350 job seekers, and in 2019, more than 500 job seekers attended the event. The 2020 Job Fair was held virtually and attracted over 170 registrants and 20 employers.
“Compared to some of the previous years, attendance is lower, but with current times it’s probably pretty average,” said Margie Sammons, board member of the Arnold Chamber of Commerce and president. of the Job Fair. “(Arnold) Mayor Ron Counts had the idea and the mission to have a job fair for the community. It’s good to continue to have it. I think there are a lot of people out there who are looking for a job, or maybe they’ve retired and are looking for a position to get out of the house and connect with people.
“I think it’s important that we continue to host it because I think we will always have a stake.”
Jessica Schaffer, 30, of Imperial said she was glad the job fair took place after leaving her job as a graduate admissions counselor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles in July.
“It’s quite a trek from Imperial to St. Charles each day,” she said.
Schaffer said she was looking for a job in recruiting and talent acquisition and enjoyed meeting company representatives at the fair.
“I love job fairs,” she said. “As a millennial, navigating the online job market is difficult. There’s something about face-to-face, in-person interaction that a Microsoft Word resume doesn’t. This is how I like to find jobs, go to job fairs, meet people, network and hang out. It was a good experience. I am very happy that this took place.
Stacy Howell, 52, of Herculaneum, said she moved from Van Buren to Jefferson County about a month ago and heard about the job fair while reading the leader.
“I’m getting familiar with the area and keeping my eyes peeled for a job opportunity,” she said. “I think it was great. You had the chance to meet different people and see the different positions available.
Zlata Rahmanovic, 36, of Fenton, said she heard about the job fair in an email from her children’s school, Ridgewood Middle School in Fox School District C-6. She said she was looking for a job in a school district as a special education aide or in the health care industry.
“There was a lot to look at,” Rahmanovic said of the various job opportunities at the fair.
Ballah said he thought the job fair was helpful to both companies looking to hire employees and candidates looking for jobs.
“(As a business) you want to be active in the community,” he said. “Jefferson County offers that sense of community. People love and buy from people they trust. Being able to talk about what your company does and the value it brings is important to demonstrate at a job fair.
“(Job applicants) need to be in person and see jobs from companies, rather than reading about them on the web. They were able to ask questions in an informal setting, rather than being interrogated. »
Jefferson College Labor and Employment Services representatives were unable to attend the event as planned, but other college staff were present and gathered information from jobseekers.
The college plans to hold a future employment event at its Arnold campus, 1687 Missouri State Road, and organizers will announce more details about it later.