By Jean Verlich: Freedon Newspapers
Despite a lower than expected turnout, employers, job seekers and organizers called this weekend’s Career Expo at the Clovis Civic Center a success.
Lowe’s Home Improvement was one of more than 60 employers that participated in the two-day event, organized by the New Mexico Department of Labor.
“The turnout’s been a little lower than we expected,” said Jodee Haynes, Lowe’s human resources manager. “We have found several good applicants … (so) it’s a success.”
In its fifth year, the event was held Friday and Saturday to enable more job seekers to attend, said Matthew Barela, labor department employment representative and job fair coordinator. In the past, the one-day expo was held midweek.
“This year was pretty good,” Barela said.
Its first year 1,000 people attended, Barela said, but there were about half that number of people looking for jobs this year.
“We got a very low rate of unemployment,” Barela noted, adding that Friday’s windy, wintery weather probably kept people away.
“Today we have had a steady flow of individuals,” he said of Saturday’s attendance.
Weather played a part in a drop employers participating, too, Barela said. Although he termed this year’s participation “good,” by comparison 79 companies exhibited in 2006.
Sunland Personnel Manager Suzanne Zamora said there were a lot of applicants and she was able to fill openings for a roaster and salter at the Portales peanut company.
Her goals were to fill those posts, collect applications “and make the community aware that we are here and we give tours,” she said.
Of about 75 applications given out, she had received 20 completed ones back.
“We have had a great response,” Zamora said.
Maria Amaro of Clovis was interested in educational and employment opportunities. The state human services employee will retire at the end of the year, and is considering getting an accounting degree and wanted to see what Wayland Baptist University offered. She also talked to Clovis Police Department about working as a dispatcher.
“It was fun,” she said.
Pennsylvania transplant Sheryl Holmes visited the career expo to follow up on a job posting she saw online. She moved to Clovis in the fall when her Air Force husband was assigned Cannon Air Force Base.
Not only did she succeed in making contact with the employer, but she also got an interview for “a job I had no idea existed.”