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Monday, June 9, 2014

Unemployed? Need new career? Central Ky. Regional Career Fair may be ticket to jobs

(Photo by Staci L. May)

(Photo by Staci L. May)

 

What do you get when you bring 60 employers and hundreds of job seekers together in the same room? Central Kentucky’s largest job fair.
 
Set for June 18 at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Leestown campus conference center in Lexington, the inaugural Central Kentucky Regional Career Fair is designed to connect people looking for jobs with the companies who are hiring.
 
“I know for a fact that there are a lot of job seekers out there. They are out there and they are available. It’s about getting the word out to them and connecting them to the employers,” said Paula Barnes, business service specialist at the Kentucky Career Center-Bluegrass, one of the sponsors of the fair.
 

Barnes and Bruce Quire, the veteran employer representative at the center, came up with the idea for a regional fair after years of putting on “mini” career fairs throughout the 17-county Bluegrass region.
 
“There seemed to be a need for this because there are numerous employers all over the Central Kentucky area hiring right now,” Barnes said. “We just decided to do it as a regional career fair to have more impact and reach more people.”
 
“The timing was right,” added Quire.
 
Co-sponsored by Commerce Lexington, Lexington’s Business in Education Network, the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board, state veterans services, the Office of Employment Training and BCTC, the career fair will feature some of the area’s largest employers, including Kelly Services/Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, state government, UPS and the University of Kentucky.
 
Numerous small- to medium-size employers will be on hand, as well. Together, those employers are looking to fill more than 1,000 positions available in the area, Barnes said.
 
“It’s just been overwhelming the number of employers looking to hire people. I’m still getting calls from employers wanting to get in the fair,” she said.
 
There will be representatives from all high-demand sectors, including Central Kentucky’s top four: manufacturing, health care, technology and transportation/distribution/logistics. In addition, the available jobs will run the gamut from entry level to management, from minimum wage to $20-plus an hour.
 
As with most career fairs, the Central Kentucky Regional Career Fair will give job seekers the opportunity to meet the employers’ representatives, drop off resumés, apply for specific jobs and, in some cases, be interviewed on the spot. Because many of the employers will have their hiring officials on site that day, Barnes said that first impressions will be key.
 
“I’m here to tell you it is a very competitive job market right now and it’s definitely an employers’ market,” she said. “A company may have one position available and they’ll get 300 applications for it. So it’s definitely up to the job seeker to make the best first impression they can.”
 
People who need help preparing for the career fair, whether it be with resumé writing, interviewing skills or proper attire, can contact any of the more than 30 Kentucky Career Centers, which offer skills workshops as well as individual assistance free of charge. Central Kentucky area career centers are located in Lexington, Frankfort, Danville, Georgetown, Winchester and Richmond.
 
“Our job is to help them get employed, so whatever it takes to help them, we’re here to help. We’re kind of like one-stop shopping – offering any type of service or referral they may need to help them gain employment,” Barnes said.
 
“With this career fair and the opportunities for employment available, there’s no reason someone in Central Kentucky can’t get connected and find a job,” added Staci L. May, marketing and communication specialist for the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board, a partner in the event.
 
Job seekers may register for the career fair at focuscareer, the state government’s online jobs site. Job seekers not in the Focus Career database may register at the fair. Beyond that, Barnes said job seekers should bring copies of their resumé.
 
“This is an incredible opportunity for anyone, whether they’re unemployed or looking to make a career change,” she said.
 
The career fair is open from 1-5 p.m., with veterans given first preference from 1-2 p.m. For more information about the Central Kentucky Regional Career Fair, including a list of employers attending, visit ckycareers.

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