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Large crowd at Thursday's Evans job fair

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Vida Pugh’s search for employment started when she moved to Augusta two years ago.

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A larger-than-anticipated crowd showed up for Thursday's job fair at the Evans Government Center. The line snaked down Ronald Reagan Drive as applicants waited to talk to representatives from area businesses.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
A larger-than-anticipated crowd showed up for Thursday's job fair at the Evans Government Center. The line snaked down Ronald Reagan Drive as applicants waited to talk to representatives from area businesses.

Pugh, who lost her job at the Georgia Federal Credit Union in August 2009, was among hundreds of people in line Thursday morning for a job fair at the Evans Government Center Auditorium on Ronald Reagan Drive.

Just six months ago, Pugh said, she waited in an even longer line at an Atlanta job fair and never made it inside.

“Everybody wants to be productive and do something,” she said.

The fair, sponsored by the Geor­gia Department of Labor and Columbia County, lasted until noon.

Parking spots in the government complex quickly filled and some businesses across the campus were towing illegally parked vehicles.

By 11:30 a.m., about 850 people had filed into the auditorium to drop off résumés and speak with employers.

Event organizers expected the fair to draw just a couple of hundred attendees.

For more than an hour, the line outside the auditorium snaked across the parking lot and down the sidewalk of Ronald Reagan Drive.

“I knew that the crowd would be large, but I didn’t realize that this many people would respond,” said Melissa Kennedy, who left her job at the Evans Target two weeks ago. “The job market is so bad right now, not just in Martinez and Evans, but nationwide.”

The Martinez resident stood in line for about 45 minutes and said she was looking for a full-time job. She came prepared with copies of her résumé and reference list.

“I jumped on this immediately” after finding out about the fair, Kennedy said.

More than two dozen companies were represented, including ADP, FPL Foods, Rhodes Financial/Tax Slayer and Walmart. Each employer had jobs to offer.

“A lot of people are needing work right now,” said Aaron Healy, a shift manager at the Evans Walmart who was working a booth at the fair. “This is a great opportunity to see what’s available for them.”

The company had positions available for an overnight stocker, cashier and assistant manager at the Evans location.

More than 130 people had submitted résumés at his table by 11 a.m., Healy said.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRIP

Several Augusta officials took an economic development trip to Atlanta on Thursday, although the exact nature of the visit is not known.

Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell said he, Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Karen Nixon, the mayor’s executive assistant, drove to Atlanta on Thursday for an afternoon visit with Craig Lesser.

Lesser, the former Commissioner of Economic Development under Gov. Sonny Perdue, now is a managing partner of Pendleton Consulting Group.

During a 2006 visit to Augusta, Lesser remarked that the city had a great team, but needed a single point of contact for state leaders passing along business prospects. At the time, Copenhaver said he would fill the role himself because of budget constraints. But last week, the mayor announced that he wants to add an economic development professional to his staff.

– Susan McCord, staff writer

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AutumnLeaves
4720
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AutumnLeaves 09/29/11 - 11:00 am
0
0

Why is this response of a

Why is this response of a large crowd unexpected? I hope not too many people are illegally parked, but I don't think I would have the heart to notify authorities to tow cars of people that were desperately looking for a job, even if it was cutting into my bottom line for ONE work day, if that. That's a judgment call, I guess. I guess the business owners don't foresee that some of those people parking might one day be successful enough to be appreciative customers some day>

Chillen
16
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Chillen 09/29/11 - 12:02 pm
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I'm so glad to see so many

I'm so glad to see so many who WANT to work. I hope each & every one of them is successful in their search.

Compare this peaceful & inspiring story to these stories.

http://nation.foxnews.com/food-stamps/2011/09/27/thousands-line-philadel...

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/housing-crisis-reaches-full-589653.html

jmb578
94
Points
jmb578 09/29/11 - 12:36 pm
0
0

I don't understand why a

I don't understand why a large crowd at a job fair during a period of high unemployment would be "unexpected." Shame on those who towed the vehicles of these people who are desparate for work!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/29/11 - 12:55 pm
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0

You have to consider that

You have to consider that some businesses may not have known WHERE the people were going, just that their parking lot was full of people not buying chicken or whatever. There is enough legal aprking in the vicinity for people not too lazy to walk. I can't fault a business owner if they were losing patronage because of a full lot.

InChristLove
21776
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InChristLove 09/29/11 - 01:57 pm
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0

I would have to agree with

I would have to agree with AutumnLeaves post but what struck me odd was Ms. Kennedy stated she left her part time job at Target two weeks ago and is looking for a full time job. Why would you leave a part time job before you had another job to take it's place. Isn't part time work better than no work at all?

Little Lamb
40142
Points
Little Lamb 09/29/11 - 02:36 pm
0
0

Why? Probably because she is

Why? Probably because she is making more on unemployment compensation than she was working part time at Target. We need to make unemployment benefits expire in 26 weeks instead of 99, and we need to make you have to work 5 years continuously to become eligible to receive unemployment benefits. A policy of too-generous unemployment benefits keeps the unemployment rate high.

specsta
5759
Points
specsta 09/29/11 - 03:22 pm
0
0

The sad part is that most of

The sad part is that most of these companies are only offering a handful of jobs, versus the 850 folks that showed up to drop off resumes. In job searches, these companies have the upper hand.

Online applications can take anywhere from a few minutes to 2 or 3 hours to fill out. Then, you have absolutely no idea if your application/resume has been booted out by a computer scan or if an actual HR person reviews it. If thousands of folks apply for the same job, all of those applications are tossed and the ad is re-worded and re-posted to narrow the field of applicants.

While technology is incredible, it removes the human element of actually looking a potential employer in the eye and making your case in person. Today's job fairs don't exactly help in this situation either. "Back in the day" at a job fair, you could get hired on the spot and start working the next day.

This is the toughest time to be looking for a job.

specsta
5759
Points
specsta 09/29/11 - 03:31 pm
0
0

@Little Lamb - Unemployment

@Little Lamb - Unemployment compensation does not keep the unemployment rate. The lack of jobs keeps the unemployment rate high.

Also, very few people work five straight years at the same job in the 21st century. That was 20 years ago. In today's economy, there are layoffs, bankruptcies, promotions, technology that eliminates jobs, etc.

seenitB4
72737
Points
seenitB4 09/30/11 - 08:36 am
0
0

How many actually got a job

How many actually got a job from this?

crkgrdn
2172
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crkgrdn 09/30/11 - 09:06 am
0
0

Very interesting; the lead

Very interesting; the lead story, by staff writers,on the front page of the print addition- "Fears on economy ease"- tells a different story. Very strange. Of course then you turn the page and read the story about the Evans Job Fair and the difficult issues faced by the EU.

No wonder why recent polls show that folks don't trust the media.

And if you find the economic news weird you will find there's no escape from media folks trying to make a name for themselves through distortion. The other night I settled in to watch a PBS special on the Japanese tsunami. A few minutes in to the broadcast the narrator tells us that the tsunami moved the earth off its axis. My wife and I exchanged looks and agreed to turn it off and reached for our books and some good music.

I read 1984 and Brave New World in high school but never knew we would be living it.

mrducks
59
Points
mrducks 09/30/11 - 09:24 am
0
0

I am recently employed from a

Unpublished

I am recently employed from a job fair I attended in June (took a while). Stay positive, stay active, keep searching every day. If you are unemployed, and are able to get ANY employment, even PT, do so, as employers these days like to hire only applicants who are currently employed elsewhere (which isn't fair, but it's the way it is). Patience, perserverence, networking, and a bit of luck. You'll get there. Good luck! Don't let the jerks grind you down!

Haki
31
Points
Haki 09/30/11 - 10:17 am
0
0

Who would have those vehicles

Who would have those vehicles towed? That's how we behave these days.

AutumnLeaves
4720
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AutumnLeaves 10/03/11 - 11:35 pm
0
0

Somehow this (towing the cars

Somehow this (towing the cars of people struggling to find jobs) reminds me of banks that are going to start charging fees for your accounts when your balance drops below $1500. Did I hear that right?

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