As originally published in The Sun Times :
Job Fair in Owen Sound
By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Nancy Kerr has found herself in a position she hasn’t been in for a long time — out of work and looking for a job.
Kerr, 51, was one of hundreds who attended a community job fair in Owen Sound on Wednesday afternoon where potential employees submitted their resumes and met with representatives from the 17 employers and community organizations taking part.
Kerr, who lives on a farm near Owen Sound, said she was job hunting Wednesday after she was laid off from what she had hoped was a long-term full-time job.
“Basically my anticipation was that I was being called back (after a temporary layoff) and then unfortunately there was restructuring and that is what kind of took the wind out of my sails,” said Kerr. “I am here today looking — like everybody else — for the next step.”
For Kerr, finding work has never been much of a problem when she wanted it.
“I have always had full-time work. I have been lucky that way and this is kind of the setback I wasn’t anticipating,” she said. “Being on unemployment doesn’t sit well with me. I feel if you can work you might as well be.”
One job that particularly interested her at Wednesday’s fair were a few permanent positions being offered up by Caframo, which produces battery and electric fans, portable electric heaters as well as laboratory stirrers near Wiarton.
“I am strong in the administration area, service co-ordinator, receptionist, clerical, that sort of thing,” said Kerr. “I live on a farm so I am not unaccustomed to hard work as well.”
Kerr said that like many others at Wednesday’s event, she was drawn to the permanent full-time jobs, though she added she would be willing to take on something part-time or temporary if she needed to.
“I will hang in there and if I have to take something temporary or part-time I will,” said Kerr. “I am not adverse to that with the optimism of finding a full-time job.”
Kerr said many employers are looking for people much younger than her so they can “groom them and grow them,” but she wasn’t about to let that deter her.
“If the jobs are part-time or seasonal, then obviously the students are preferred in that regard,” Kerr said. “There are also a lot of people like myself looking for the full-time job, but we are all here to take advantage of whatever opportunities there might be.”
Stacy Savard had just moved to Meaford from Waterloo and decided to attend the job fair looking for work.
“I was on maternity leave so I needed to get out and start job hunting now,” said Savard. “I have been to a job fair before and it was very helpful. It is nice actually meeting the people and getting the information.”
Savard was particularly interested in positions at Chapman’s Ice Cream in Markdale and A&W.
“I have a lot of management experience, so I was hoping to get in to A&W,” said Savard.
Within the first hour about 200 people had already passed through the doors at the job fair to met with the firms in attendance, which included large area employers such as Grey Bruce Health Services, Transcontinental RBW and Tenneco. Others participating included The Agency, Veolia, Kunkel Bus Lines, Community Living, the Investors Group and the Business Enterprise Centre.
Scott Cruickshank, production manager at Caframo, said the turnout had been good and they had a steady line of people interested in working for them.
Caframo, whose employment peaks around 100 during the busy summer months, is looking to hire about 15 production assemblers for work expected to last from May to December. They were also looking to fill a few other positions, including for order entry, a quality assurance administrator and an electrical engineer.
Cruickshank said it was his first time participating in the Owen Sound job fair and said there were some benefits to the job fair format over just receiving resumes from people.
“It is kind of like a meet and a greet,” said Cruickshank. “You get to put a face with the resume they are submitting and it also gives them the opportunity to ask the questions related to the job they are looking for.”
Amy Norris, employment advisor with YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce Employment Services, said they were happy with how the event was running, with a few more employers at this year’s event than there were at last year’s inaugural job fair.
“We think this is a great way for our clients to meet employers,” said Norris. “They can see their face, they can sell their skills to employers and it is just a great way to show what kind of jobs are available in the community.”