October 26, 2013
Job fair attracts about 600 people, 64 area employers
CORTLANDVILLE — The second ever job fair held at the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES McEvoy Center brought together job seekers and employers from across Central New York Friday afternoon for the second year in a row.
OMC BOCES collaborated with the Cortland Works Career Center, the state Department of Labor and other organizations to bring 64 employers together all looking to fill positions in tourism, financial services, food processing, advanced manufacturing, health care, education and other sectors.
Event Coordinator Cali Young said around 600 job seekers attended the event last year and positive feedback from both employers and job seekers prompted them to hold the event again. About the same number attended this year’s event.
“We wanted to let people know it was here and we wanted to reach out for the community,” Young said. “We’re glad we were able to reach out and give them this opportunity.”
Linda Horton-Cook, assistant director of adult education at OCM BOCES, said the event also makes local businesses aware of what BOCES does while providing its students with a preview of what is available after they graduate.
“People don’t really associate us with job training,” Cook said. “We do full-time adult training programs and our students will be looking for a job in the local community. It’s good that they’ve had some exposure to local employers and they (employers) get to understand more about what BOCES offers.”
Diane Wheaton, an employment and training specialist for Cortland Works, tended both at the main entrance of the event and said even after the first hour, she had already heard positive feedback from job seekers.
“I’m getting a lot of good responses as they’re walking out,” Wheaton said. “A couple of people had on-the-spot interviews.”
Michelle Bracken, the assistant executive director for SUNY Cortland’s Auxiliary Services Corp., had a booth set up and was looking to recruit a cook and maintenance worker for the company.
Bracken said the company was happy with the turnout and the number of applications it received last year and added she believes everyone should take advantage of the networking opportunities the event has to offer employers and job seekers.
“I support endeavors like this because there could be a future employee who comes and she’s going to hear about your business,” Bracken said. “We saw an increase in the amount of applications we received after the last job fair; I think it’s very well attended.”
Staci Maybee works in human resources for the Tompkins Trust Co. in Ithaca and was looking to fill customer service and back office operations positions for the bank.
“Someone reached out to us and I’m glad that they did because I didn’t even know this was happening last year,” Maybee said. “It’s been a good experience. People seem eager and excited to be here and are ambitious about getting to work.”
That same ambition could be found in Cortland residents Ray Bennett and Jakob Phillips who had just completed several applications and were about to hand them back to employers.
“We walked all the way here,” Bennett said.
Phillips said he was pleased with the various opportunities presented at the event while Bennett said they liked the way the event was set up and optimistic about their chances of getting hired.
“We’re both looking forward to getting back to work,” Bennett said.
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