Job fair draws hundreds of people to Coast Convention Center - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Job fair draws hundreds of people to Coast Convention Center

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – They came, armed with resumes and dreams of a better future. Hundreds of job seekers, from teens to retirees, flocked to the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi Tuesday, hoping their experience and education will impress potential employers.

The 16th Annual Spring Southern Region Military and Civilian Job Fair gave a group of Pascagoula High students a taste of the working world.

"I want them to kind of get prepared for what to expect once they graduate from high school," said Pascagoula High teacher Ollie Armstrong.  "Not everybody goes to college.  And the particular students that I work with, most of them go to the job world or they may go to the military."

The job fair was the last place Christine Heck expected to be.

"Yeah, I've been looking," Heck told a vendor.

Heck lost her job as an Economic Assistant back in January.  Ironically, she worked for the U.S. Labor Department and her office was phased out.

"I'm looking for basically anything right now. I just need a job.  We need to add to our income.  We have six kids," said Heck.

Heck said she has been sending out at least 20 resumes a week, but only had one offer for an interview. 

Representatives from 75 companies were on hand at the job fair to accept resumes and give out applications.

"They had to pay $275 for a booth.  The reason they pay $275 is they're trying to hire people," said Joe Buckner, Director of the Governor's Job Fair Network.  "We, in fact, tell employers, if you're not hiring, we don't want you to come to the job fair."

"If you fill this out and bring it to me today, we'll make sure that somebody takes a look at it," Rhonda Walker told some interested job seekers.

Walker was looking for managers and team members for three Whataburger Restaurants on the coast.

"The more applications you get, the more good ones you get, the more chance you have of hiring the right people for the job," said Walker.

Organizers said job fairs are a great way to match people and their skills with potential employers.  During last year's job fair, they said employers made nearly 550 job offers the day of the event.

"We know the people that are coming through the doors are here for one reason," said Buckner.  "They're trying to pay their bills.  They're trying to feed their family.  They're trying to get out of trouble with their credit cards. They're really serious about going to work and what we want to do is help them find that job, and for them to have hope."

The Governor's Job Fair Network holds 15 job fairs across the state every year.  The next one on the Gulf Coast is scheduled for June 15 at the Mac McGinty Civic Center in Pascagoula.

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