Job fair offers full time opportunities in a tough economy

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The annual Tri County Job Fair in Pascagoula is helping some South Mississippians find work during these tough economic times.

Job hunters of all ages stood in long lines Tuesday to present their resumes and skills to employers in hopes of landing a full time job. Pascagoula resident Calvin Armstrong was among that group. Armstrong is a welder, but was laid off earlier this year.

"It is not a lot of people hiring, but that doesn't mean we need to stop looking," Armstrong said.

Michael Dole is already employed, but said he's not making enough to pay the bills. So Dole is looking for a second job.

"It is tough now because the economy has us down. Even with two people in the house, you have to have two jobs a piece to make it," Dole said.

Job fair organizer Joe Buckner points out the unemployment rate in Mississippi is up 9 percent, with Jackson County's rate a little lower at 7.5 percent. He's optimistic the job fair will help decrease those numbers.

"One employer is looking to hire 300 welders. We have medical opportunities, sales opportunities," he said.

There were also law enforcement opportunities. Pascagoula's Police Department is looking for a few good men and women to join their team.

"We are looking for people who want to do this job," Officer Ronnie Castille said.

Castille said the response has been great. He received more than 200 applications.

"I heard a lot of people who said they lost their jobs due to the economy, more than I expected to hear," Castile said, "Anyone that is interested, we are willing to look at their application."

That's good news to job seekers like Dole, who was among those applying for a job with the police.

"I hope I will be successful. I keep my fingers crossed," Dole said.

Organizers said 57 employers participated in Tuesday's job fair, and more than 1,700 applications were received.

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