MATAMORAS - More than 70 employers were in attendance for the recent Working Pike Job Fair. Cindy DeFebo, the director of the Pike County Workforce Development Agency said it was the largest turnout ever, with employers from the entire tri-state attending.

Aside from contacting employers to attend, many sought out the agency so they could participate DeFebo said. While there were a few of the same employers as previous years, there were new businesses as well, that included warehouses and medical services. There is a comprehensive directory of businesses listed with contact information on the agency’s website, https://www.pikepa.org/wfd.html or at the office in Shohola.

Last year DeFebo figured about 400 jobseekers attended the fair, and with the present unemployment rate being about four percent in the tri-state, she wasn’t sure what to expect this year. The job fair was a chance though, for jobseekers to actually talk to someone and be “human beings” rather than just submitting an application online, she said.    

The agency, DeFebo explained, has employment training programs, internship programs and further resources to help those seeking employment whether by assisting with resumes, cover letters or online applications, all of which is done without a cost to the individual.

Employers impressed

A Pike County Caseworker, Penny Seltzer was at the fair from the Pike County Children and Youth Services looking for caseworkers who would “strengthen and empower families” in the community she said. She was hoping to find persons who work well with others, held a bachelor’s degree in a social services field or had experience in the field. After talking with a few jobseekers, Seltzer said the interactions were “going well.”

Dr. Sean Wall-Carty, the director of human resources at the Center for Discovery in Sullivan County New York, said he met a lot of “great people” who were “interested in employment.” Having been at the fair in years past, Wall-Carty had hired jobseekers before and this year, he intended on communicating further with some he met. At the center, Wall-Carty said there were “different opportunities” available that included a resident association position and a direct care support position that started at $14 an hour with full benefits.
    
Representing Martin Brower, a distribution center for McDonalds in New York, Jose Padilla and Melissa McCormick said the fair was going well as they looked for drivers and staff for the warehouse, with potential administration positions. Early into the fair, after talking with a few jobseekers, there were a few Padilla said he would’ve hired.

New to the region, Ken Graver who is from Philadelphia was looking for part-time work. While he has a background in manufacturing and management, Graver said he wanted “new opportunities” and the conversations he had at the fair went well. Although he hadn’t been looking for work too long, Graver said the job fair offered “more diversity” with further information available and most of the businesses, he wasn’t familiar with.

From Primerica Financial Service in Milford, the Regional Vice President Charles Lutz said he was looking for people to fill part and full-time positions, to market the company’s financial services regarding retirement planning, insurance and debt consolidation. The turnout, he felt was good and people were prepared.

After 20 years in the same industry, Gene Clyde said he was at the fair because it was time for a “career change,” as he continues to try to obtain a commercial drivers license. At the job fair, Clyde was surprised to find the number of employers available, including two of which he spoke with and felt comfortable about the conversation he had.

From Davis Bus and Limo, Rick Davis said the fair was going well, in part because anytime he gets out and meets people it is good. There were a few possible applicants, but more than anything, anytime information is shared that’s a bonus he believes. In years past, Davis said the company had hired persons met at the fair, that included a mechanic and an office employee. Currently, he was looking for office staff, mechanics, drivers and a sales pers

A Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, Antoinette Chiarello said she was looking for people who wanted to be inspired by their dreams and who were interested in starting their own business. Through the available positions, the persons would start their own businesses, choose their time of work and have flexibility. Chiarello was hoping to find 100 persons, and if she were to do that, then she believes it would open them to opportunities available in the company. The fair, she said went well because she spoke to people who were interested in possibly starting their own businesses, but were also apprehensive, which most are.

Pike County Commissioner Steve Guccini said aside from the fair growing, it was a benefit because it was an opportunity to help the community, as people sought work closer to home, since many in the region travel out of the county and state to their places of employment.

Wants job closer to home

Lynn Frost from New Jersey, was at the job fair hoping to find a job closer to her home because she has been commuting three hours a day. If able to find such a job, Frost said it would give her a better “quality of life” since her husband has a similar commute. While she was open to options, Frost was specifically looking for payables and receivables, administrative or accounting work, because of her experience running a small office.

Frost said she was pleased with the variety of employers, which led her to realize she had more options, as well as where the businesses were based. Prior to the fair, Frost said she had been on a few interviews, but the search continued and she had plans on attending another job fair in Newtown New Jersey. The challenge Frost faces, is an expectation of a good salary.

A senior at Delaware Valley High School, Austin Johnson said his experience at the job fair was “good” because there was a lot to learn about. Johnson chose to attend the fair because he wanted a “different perspective” of jobs in the area and to learn what options he had once he graduates. As of now, Johnson doesn’t plan on going directly to college after he graduates, but he would like to one day become a police officer or a correction officer.

People with disabilities

There was also a “reverse job fair” for persons who have disabilities. The reverse job fair was set up so that jobseekers who happen to have a disability, had a table with information about themselves and employers went to them to talk. The Director of Employment Services at Fitzmaurice Community Services Inc., Sean Donohoe called the reverse job fair a “wonderful idea” that will grow with time.     

There were eight persons who participated in the reverse job fair, which Kim Emmet from the Community Vocational Services said had worked on their communication skills prior to the fair and created resume boards that displayed the individuals’ skills and qualities with pictures of them at work. The board, Donohoe said was a chance to show the individuals’ “abilities, not their disabilities.”

In addition to the job seeking assistance offered by the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, the second Wednesday of the month there is an in-house job fair, where fewer employers are on-hand to talk with persons seeking work. The Pike County Workforce Development Agency is located at 837, Route 6, Unit 2 in Shohola. For more information call 570-296-2909 or visit https://www.pikepa.org/wfd.html.