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Job seekers venture on hunt at fair

Attendees find that companies are hiring, but they’re advertising for workers on their own internal

Posted: May 13, 2009 8:32 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Adreena Thomas, left, joins hundreds of other job fair attendees as she gets a job application from Andrea Wynn, seated, of the Six Flags Magic Mountain HR dept. at the College of the Canyons, Canyon Country Campus Job Fair on Wednesday.

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About 1,000 job seekers spent Wednesday at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus mingling with potential employers in the hopes of landing a good job in a tough economy.

The 30 employers at the Spring 2009 Job & Career Fair represented state agencies, hospitals, retail businesses and the finance industry, said Anthony Michaelides, COC’s director of career services. The majority of companies, including Six Flags Magic Mountain and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, are local and have open positions, he said.

The Valencia campus hosted a job fair last week, bringing in about 50 employers and more than 1,000 job seekers, he said.

The community college hosts a job fair every six months at its Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

Representatives from Aflac Insurance were at the job fair looking for applicants for open sales positions at the Valencia office.

By the first hour, about 30 people had dropped off resumes.

“We’ve had a good turnout,” said Denny Twigg, district sales coordinator.

That turnout included Valencia resident Justin Perez, 30, a job-seeker on the hunt.

Perez was laid off from a warehousing job three weeks ago. He talked to employers about half a dozen tables and left his resume with several of them.

“I’m pretty open, as far as what kind of job,” he said.

Perez hopes to find a job in the Santa Clarita Valley, but acknowledged the difficulties resulting from the economic slowdown.

“It is a tough environment because there’s so many people out of work,” he said.

For March, the latest month for which figures are available, the unemployment rate in Santa Clarita is 7 percent, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Since the economic downturn, the Career Services department of College of the Canyons has seen an increase in foot traffic from recently laid-off employees, COC’s Michaelides said. Many of the job-seekers come with years of experience at a company, he said.

The community college introduced three workshops to the job fair, Michaelides said. The workshops focused on employer expectations, interviewing and resume writing, he said.

The recession has brought a change in the job search, Michaelides said.

Initially, he said, it looked as though employers stopped hiring as a flood of job-seekers fresh from lay-offs hit the job market, he said.

Instead, companies are advertising open positions on their own company Web sites, rather than national employment search engines like Monster.com, Michaelides said.

“A lot of companies are still hiring,” he said.

That shift has led the college’s Career Services department to advise job-seekers to visit company Web sites to learn about job openings in their communities. That way, they can directly apply to the company and cut down on the competition from out-of-the-area applicants, he said.

 

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