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Seeking success: Job hunters flock to career fair

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By Marty Finley

Tommy Harris manages a moving company that specializes in residential and commercial relocations, but his schedule allows for a side job, which could bring more money in to handle the bills.

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He was one of several job seekers who converged Thursday on Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown for the annual Regional Job and Career Fair hosted by the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and Elizabethtown Career Center.

Harris spoke with several companies set up at the fair as he weighed his options, focusing on staffing agencies and corporate companies that might be able to afford a temporary position. He heard about the job fair through a friend and said he could use extra part-time work.

Chris Beebe and his wife, Kaita, were assessing the field and met with local factories to inquire about open positions. When asked what he was looking for, Chris Beebe said he was not picky.

“Everything,” he said. “Someone who will hire me.”

The couple expressed a special interest in Metalsa, which had a booth at the fair and is undergoing an expansion.

The fair’s title sponsor was KyJobs.net, a product of The News-Enterprise and Landmark Community Newspapers. Roughly 46 booths were set up during the fair, representing a range of industries, including police and fire departments, universities, local manufacturers and health care providers.

Arnold Harrington requested more information from Campbellsville University as he contemplates a return to school after leaving the U.S. Army Reserves. Harrington’s wife, a nurse, secured a job at Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox while he was deployed, so they relocated to Kentucky from Michigan.

Harrington said he has an interest in the medical field and a handful of manufacturers visible at the fair because the skill sets he harnessed in the military translate well to the private sector.

Harrington said he did a “little bit of everything” while enlisted in the military, starting in artillery before moving on to a role as combat engineer, working in civil affairs and serving as a military police officer.

He has tapped into numerous resources to gain the latest updates on available job postings and received an alert about the fair, which piqued his curiosity.

The fair also proved beneficial for organizations in need of capable and committed employees.

Officers from the Fishers, Ind., Police Department drove to Kentucky to participate as it gears up for a new hiring process later this year. Tom Weger, public information officer for the department, said the agency is aligned with the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success, an initiative with the private business community to assist young people in finding employment as they conclude their military service. Weger said the department was notified about the job fair through the program.

While the department travels to job fairs throughout Indiana, Weger said he believes the visit to Elizabethtown was the first out-of-state recruitment effort.

“We’re looking for highly qualified, highly motivated individuals that want to have a career in law enforcement,” he said.

Remington Arms’ booth was attracting its share of visitors as the company tries to fill a handful of jobs, primarily in specialty engineering positions, said Stephanie Hester, human resources specialist. Hester said the company has around eight local positions to fill in areas such as lab technician, computer aided design technician, metallurgical engineer and design engineer.

“We’re growing,” she said. “We’re a growing company, so this felt like a good fit.”

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.