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Tanijah Ellis didn’t know what to expect Wednesday. But when she saw dozens of prospective companies engaging in conversation with job-seekers like herself, she knew it was a moment she wanted to take advantage of.
“This is a big opportunity,” the 19-year-old said. “There are actually more people hiring than I thought. I feel like I’m going to get a better chance at finding a job.”
Ellis was one of more than 200 job-seekers who headed out to connect with hiring employers at the 19th annual Greater Wilson Area Career Fair held at the Wilson County Agricultural Center.
More than 40 employers from Wilson and surrounding areas took part in the event Wednesday. The job fair, hosted by Wilson County Department of Social Services, Wilson Community College and NCWorks, is a ticket-to-work event and focuses on pre-qualified applicants. The process helps employers fill vacant positions with qualified job-seekers.
“It gives you a chance to make a first impression and to be able to speak personable with someone,” said Grace Browning, a Barton senior, who was hoping to find a full-time job. “It’s also great to be able to network and see people face to face.”
Burwell Stark, NCWorks Career Center manager, said the job-seeker response was better than he anticipated.
“Employer response was phenomenal this year as well,” he said. “We’ve had a very good turnout.”
He said the job fair continues to be successful as more and more people hear about it. Many Wilson Community College students also attended Wednesday’s job fair.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students who are getting ready to graduate and put their degrees to use to start getting some exposure to these employers,” said Melody Parker-Eatmon, WCC career counselor. She said a lot of the employers at the job fair Wednesday have actually contacted the college because they are specifically looking for their students.
“It’s nice they are actually here and are able to meet out students face to face and just provide an opportunity for them to possibly have a career lined up when they walk across the stage,” she said about upcoming graduation.
Wilson County DSS Director Glenn Osborne said organizers have come a long way since the career fair began nearly 20 years ago.
“This is probably as well attended as we’ve ever had,” Osborne said “This ticket-to-work concept has worked so well the past few years.”
He said DSS enjoys working with multiple partners each year to make it successful and connecting people with real employment.
“Having our friends and our partners outside here that are helping folks with that part of it, getting prepared, getting credentials, is so important,” he said.