MATAMORAS -  Whether in need of a job or considering an occupation change, the Working Pike Job Fair offered many who were interested, an opportunity to explore career possibilities last week. 
           

At the Best Western of Hunt Landing, 70 employers filled the room, ready and eager to talk with job seekers, during the third job fair.  
           

While this was the third annual job fair, Cindy DeFebo, the director of the Pike County Workforce Development Agency said in years past, there were other job fairs, but the demand of employees wasn’t needed, so there was a pause in the fairs. This year however, 70 employers were on hand, who had contacted the agency. Some employers were actually turned away, due to a lack of room.

The fair is growing DeFebo said, because fewer people are unemployed and so, employers are “competing with one another to find job seekers.” The fair offers people an opportunity, as employers must “compete” and in turn, “offer their best” to potential employees. There were employers from the tri-state area, covering all fields as well as entry level to managerial jobs with various requirements. 
        

Last year DeFebo said there were 400 job seekers, with 600 the year before. No matter the time of year, the agency assists people seeking work, since they may need help with their resume or more.

From Weis Markets, Jesse Kooista who is a store manager was with Carrie Snyder and Zach Shimer who are in human resources, seeking new staff. This was the third year representatives from Weis were at the fair. Kooista said talking with a person at a job fair gets their business “more exposure” to “more people” since people walking into the store, may not realize they are hiring. From the first two years of attending the fair, five to eight people met were later hired. 
          

Kooista said the first trait he looks for in an employee is a “good attitude,” commitment to serving customers and working well with others. Since anyone can be trained to do the job, the reality is that a person must have the “right characteristics,” said Shimer, meaning they must have a positive attitude and be reliable. As for which job a person was looking for, Snyder said this is flexible because a person can be trained, they just need to show “enthusiasm, passion and drive.”

From Brightstar, a home healthcare agency out of Stroudsburg, Kyle Smith who is the human resource manager said he hoped to hire “qualified healthcare professionals” from the area to care for seniors and other members of the community. For him, he felt a qualified employee was one with a nursing license and had experience, specifically in geriatric care. At the job fair, Smith said they were ready to hire as many as they could, as they “are always hiring” because nursing is a difficult industry; yet there is never a shortage of people needing healthcare.   

From Sussex County ARC, that serves adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Amanda Kelleher said she was looking for “direct support professionals” who will do hands on care, through daily living and take the clients to doctor appointments and activities. As of the job fair, there were 30 openings at ARC, which Kelleher said is “normal” because a certain kind of person is needed for caring for others since it is “hard work.” But, at the end of the day it is also “very rewarding.”  

Having recently moved to the area from New York City, Fran Conci was at the job fair, looking for a job. While she had been looking for a while, Conci said her search has been difficult. Of the employers she spoke to, Conci felt the conversations went well. Hoping for an office administrative assistant position, she was pleased that one woman told her to submit her resume online. 
       

From Sam’s Club in Middletown New York, Amanda Cooper was with Julie Picone who both said the fair went well as there were many “prospects.” Positions from cashiers to overnight workers are needed Picone said. People who can work any day of the week and any hour, was something Picone was looking for, since the business operates 24-hours. Cooper said a friendly person is important and they should be willing to “lend a hand anywhere.” The people they met in the first hour of the job fair, Picone said were “great” and they wanted to hire everyone. The reason, simply Cooper answered that they were personable, had experience and wanted to work. Each person submitted applications. At the end of the day, 12 applicants were submitted and Cooper said they were considering hiring a few of the persons.

From the Amscan Party Supplies, Lindsey Russell and Michelle Montaperto-Smith were at the fair, looking for people to work at the distribution center. The persons had to be “reliable” said Russell. A dependable person attends work, is punctual and works to the “best of their ability.” Early in the start of the fair, Montaperto-Smith said of the 15 people they had spoken to, it was going “slow” because they were not the persons they were looking for. But, some of the people, Russell said were “definitely prepared” as they had resumes and what they needed.

Andrea Powell and Kristina Salvador from human resources at Kolmar Laboratories both agreed that people were at the fair ready and eager to find work. Powell said there were many “good candidates” who appeared prepared and had an idea of what they were looking for. That is a strength, since it allows the employers to know if they can help the job seeker. At Kolmer they had over 10 positions open. The resumes they had seen, Powell said were “good” because they were “detailed.” 
     

In search of a job, Kylene Henderson just moved to the area and now, she is looking for a job closer to home because she was tired of her commute. All total, Henderson has been looking for six months and so now, she hopes to find her “forever home” regarding a job. She has been in the healthcare field for 22 years and she would like something different, possibly administrative or an instruction. The job fair, she was “impressed” by because of the many employers present she said.

Maryann Cox was simply “looking for a career change” she said. For years Cox has been a cosmetologist, and now she wants something different with fewer hours, so she was at the job fair to see “what’s out there.” The conversations she had went well, because of the information she was receiving and the many opportunities were a surprise she said.

From Quick Check, a large chain of convenience stores in New York and New Jersey, Peg Masi said the job fair was going well since there were “some really good candidates looking for work.” They were good, because of their personalities, which is key at Quick Check, along with a good attitude and liking to work with the public. Openings available were team positions and gas attendants, which Masi said offered individuals “opportunities for growth within the company.” Of the persons she spoke to, Masi considered 70 percent were promising. She was pleased though, since she attends several job fairs and this was “one of the better ones.” The reason, there were many people seeking work.

Working Pike Job Fair is hosted jointly by the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, Pike County Economic Development Authority and local faith-based organizations.
           

BY THE NUMBERS

3rd Working Pike Job Fair - April 17, 2018

64 comment cards from job seekers

11 received a job offer

3 were called back that day to schedule an interview

7 were interviewed that day

17 were asked to follow up with employer

5 employers referred seekers to another company

19 seekers said they were very happy with event

2 said there were not enough clerical jobs

400 job seekers attended

70 employers present

- Cindy DeFebo, Pike County Workforce Development Agency

For more information about the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, call 570-296-2909 or visit https://www.pikepa.org/wfd.html.