Employees Needed In South Mississippi

Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina, Sharron Clark says the employee roll at the Cingular Wireless Call Center is still pretty empty.

"We lost two or three hundred people after the storm," Clark says. "It was quite a heavy hit, because before our head count was about 900 to 1,000 people."

But Cingular isn't the only business struggling to fill jobs. Beau Rivage also has quite a few positions open.

"Right now we have more than 150 positions. We have anything from engineering, to computers, to food service cooks, " Recruiter Kenneth Fitzpatrick said.

Those two companies, along with dozens of industries, law enforcement, and colleges were hunting for qualified employees at Tuesday's job fair. Several company representatives say they aren't sure why there are so many vacancies, but they're optimistic about the future.

"We do have quite a few folks coming out to the coast to check out the casino, and we want to make sure we have enough people to service them in a professional way," Fitzpatrick says.

To fill those empty positions, many companies are offering higher wages, attendance bonuses, and additional vacation time.

"We have increased to $19.50 an hour, and we also pay you $175 every other month for coming to work," Trinity Yachts Recruiter Michael Leleux said.

Leleux believes in order to get first class workers, you have to offer more money.

"I am having workers apply today and hopefully see me tomorrow for jobs."

Leleux says thinking like that will help improve the post-Katrina job market.

If you missed Tuesday's job fair, but are looking for a job, or looking to hire, visit WLOX.com's Local Jobs page.