CORINTH – Paul Hall, Misty Moore and Kathy Lesley are representative of the more than 1,700 people who filled the Crossroads Arena on Tuesday searching for jobs.
With the region’s unemployment rate hovering around 13 percent recently, the large number of job-seekers wasn’t a surprise.
Hall was talking with Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi – a Toyota supplier – about whether his 13 years with Quad Graphics, now as an assistant machine operator, would translate to a job with the new Baldwyn operation.
This father of two was encouraged to learn that his experience would mesh with machine operator jobs the company was recruiting, and he was directed to the company website to submit his application.
“This is the first job I’m applying for,” Hall said. “It’s tough, because if I leave (Quad Graphics) now I’ll lose my severance, pension and everything, but I’ll do what I have to for my family.”
Moore, who lives in Stantonville, Tenn., works in retail now, but said she is looking for “more reliable” employment. She talked with the recruiter at Caterpillar.
“I heard they have good jobs, good benefits and good pay,” Moore said. “They told me how to go on the website and apply, and I’m just hoping it’s productive.”
She has a few other employers on her list and is willing to entertain a number of possibilities, such as housekeeping openings at Magnolia Regional Health Center, among the jobs listed in the job fair brochure that were being recruited.
“Anything at the hospital is good,” Moore said. “I’m looking for something reliable with good benefits.”
Moore is married, with a 5-year-old daughter and now a 3-week-old son.
“You still have to change the diapers, get meals, keep the house and do what you have to for the family,” she said.
Lesley put in applications with seven employers, hoping that something will come through. Until last year she worked five years for a local restaurant, but was a victim of downsizing.
“I work for AbilityWorks now, but I’m looking for steady work,” Lesley said. “Last year it seemed like all the jobs required some kind of technical skill, but this year it seems like there are more jobs to choose from, more versatile.”
Hall and Moore were interested in applying at two of the most popular employers at the job fair – one of the Toyota suppliers and Caterpillar, which draws long lines each year.
Both APMM and Toyota Boshoku, another Toyota supplier which will operate a plant in Itawamba County near Dorsey, had long lines of interested job-seekers.
“We’re taking resumes and applications, looking at people’s backgrounds to see if they match our immediate needs,” said Rita McDonough of the Erlanger, Ky., Toyota Boshoku plant. Those immediate needs are primarily for front-line supervisors and management positions, she said.
The booth for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi – the main Toyota plant in Blue Springs – had a steady stream of two long lines, and representatives handed out information about how to apply online and answered questions from prospective applicants.
The almost 50 employers recruiting at the job fair included far more than manufacturing, said Joe Buckner, director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network.
There were at least 200 more applicants who registered at this year’s job fair than last year, and 456 job offers were made on site.
“The employers estimate there will be 444 more hires from this fair within the next year,” Buckner said, “and they accepted more than 2,448 resumes.”
Job offers made on Tuesday included production jobs, engineers, nurses, home health workers, sales, hospitality management and others.
The Alcorn County Sheriff’s Office was recruiting for an estimated 60 new jailers that will be required when the regional jail facility opens early next year.
“There were long lines at several companies the whole time, including Roll Form, Caterpillar and the Toyota suppliers, but there were lots of other people hiring, too, including offshore jobs and trucking companies,” Buckner said. “All the employers seemed really pleased with the number of applicants they had, and we’re excited that a lot of people will go to work as a result of this. It was one of the best job fairs we’ve had.”
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal