Job seekers crowd South Mississippi Job Fair

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of area residents looking for work checked out potential opportunities at the Lyman Community Center on Wednesday. That's where the South Mississippi job fair took place.

Around 40 employers visited with plenty of prospects to fill limited job openings.

Even though America's economy may be on the rebound, try telling that to someone who's still out of work.  The competition for jobs is as fierce as ever.

"We're looking for customer service reps. We need people to show it off to our customers," said a Kirby representative, looking for future salespeople.

Armed with positive attitudes and up-to-date resumes, the one stop shop is a welcome opportunity for those who are hunting.

"I am tickled to death they are having this event. I've got a job and would like to keep it. But I need something that's full time and that can help me more forward in life," said job hunter Carol Moran of Gulfport.

Crescent School of gaming attracted plenty of prospects, touting its 98 percent job placement.

"We've got job placement in Vegas, New Orleans, wherever you want to go," the school's representative told prospective students.

"The sooner you do this, the sooner you get to work," said one employer, urging potential workers to go on line and fill out an application.

Nakita Hope and Demetrich Goodman did the job hunt thing together, even though they're following much different career paths.

"Hospitality. Cooking. Because I have a certification in that. So, something around that," said Hope.

"Something in human resources, with working a social work type job," her friend, Goodman, added.

It's not just the unemployed who showed up.  WLOX News also talked with several folks who are under-employed, hoping to better themselves in this difficult economy.

Jim Rice worked for 20 years at a steel mill in Illinois. He now owns a tree service and stump grinding business.

"And I thought that would be a great business down here with all the hurricanes and everything. But the last thing people are worried about is a stump in their yard when the economy is as bad as it is," Rice explained.

Job openings at the fair were as varied as the applicants: Everything from insurance salesman,  to hamburger flipper, to shipyard welder.

Around two thousand job seekers attended the event.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.