Thirty-eight employers converged on Veterans Memorial Park Tuesday. Sherry Pearson of the Job Assistance Center said the timing was right to host the event.
“We’re trying to get one in because we have people in Emporia calling us like crazy,” she said. “Everybody is hiring, so we’re just trying to serve a need and help everybody that’s looking for work, and the employers that desperately need to hire.”
The Job Assistance Center sponsored the event, along with the Greensville Emporia Department of Social Services, Virginia Employment Commission, and Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce.
Previous bi-annual regional job fairs were at the Golden Leaf Commons. The pandemic forced the spring job fair’s cancellation and Tuesday’s gathering outdoors. Career opportunities in education, healthcare, manufacturing, and law enforcement highlighted various fields for job seekers to contemplate.
Captain Dave Shidell of the Emporia Police Department said his office regularly participates in the regional job fairs. Recruiting local talent as officers, communications, and animal control is a plus for Shidell and the EPD.
Many vendors from outside of Emporia-Greensville set up shop with a booth. Terri Coker, of the VCU Health System, said the Emporia-Greensville location for the event is perfect.
“We certainly need fresh new talent within the health system,” she said. “We have over 1,000 positions open for the VCU Health System. This is a great location because it’s located between several of our health systems.”
The lockdown in March caused by the pandemic crushed many sectors of the local economy. While many of the vacated jobs have since returned, many people haven’t found work since losing their jobs. Mary Ann Holmes, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, saw Tuesday as an opportunity to return to the workforce.
“I’ve been laid off since COVID started,” she said. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to find a job.”
Job seekers and employers got the chance to network Tuesday. It’s a combination that has proven successful in the past. Last fall, 250 people found employment through the regional job fair at the Golden Leaf Commons.
Paula Sadler operated a booth hoping to stir interest in working for the Greensville Emporia Department of Social Services. She had a second mission of assisting people on how to pursue employment.
“I brought literature about people surviving a layoff, and literature about turning a job fair into a job.” she said.
Job seekers and vendors took temperature checks before entering the site as a safety precaution. The pandemic forced the event outdoors, but the majority of those asked approved of the change.
The goal remained the same as previous regional job fairs — employers filling open positions and job seekers finding steady work.