Nearly 2,000 job-seekers gathered at a job fair Thursday sponsored by the Georgia Department of Labor and the Greater Augusta Employer Committee at Augusta State University’s Christenberry Fieldhouse, where more than 60 employers were represented.
Ebony King was one of the job-hunters, looking for a position in customer service or human resources. She has had her bachelor’s degree in human resource management since 2004 but has been able to find only temporary jobs. The past two months, she hasn’t found work and has been applying at jobs almost every day around the Augusta area.
“It’s overwhelming, but you’ve got to start somewhere,” she said. “I’ve been doing everything, faxing résumés, e-mailing résumés, applying online, applying in person.”
With the latest area unemployment rate at 10 percent, King said, she doesn’t like to pay attention to news about the tough job market.
“I try not to think about it, but it’s discouraging,” she said. “You have such a big competition field, and when it’s been years of not finding anything in my degree, it can feel very overwhelming.”
Kenneth Brown is home for the summer from the University of Tennessee, where he is studying for a degree in chemistry. He went to the fair to look for a part-time summer job, but he said seeing the crowds of people looking for work made him think about what he will face after graduation in a few years.
“I didn’t think there would be this many people looking,” he said. “This is a lot.”
Brown plans to work in a science or engineering job or enlisting in the Air Force after graduation.
“I just want to stay focused,” he said.
Al Chandler leads the Greater Augusta Employer Committee and said the
job fair helps employers find good workers but also acts a service to the community.
“There’s such a great need for employment, and there are so many people that are unemployed and looking,” he said.
Beth Hadden has a job as a sales associate for Walmart but has been looking for the past year for a job in management or nursing. She is a certified nursing assistant and also has a degree in management but hasn’t been able to find anything since she graduated last year. This job fair was the third one she visited Thursday.
“I feel like job fairs are difficult, because how are they supposed to remember me from all these people?” she said.