Job-seekers look for work at event

JOHNSTOWN – Scores of individuals combed booths inside the Fulton-Montgomery Community College gym Wednesday afternoon with one purpose in mind: finding a job.

FMCC, Fulton-Montgomery-Schoharie Workforce Solutions System, and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored their 2013 Annual Spring Job Fair on campus.

“Right now, we’ve got under 60 employers [set up],” said FMCC Education and Career Planning Specialist Andrea Scribner, who was stationed at the gym entrance. “Some people had interviews before they came here.”

Participants attending the free event were urged to dress professionally and bring several copies of their resumes to hand over to employers stationed throughout the gym. The event attracted many FMCC students on the verge of graduation, as well as college alumni and other displaced, older workers simply looking to get back into the job market.

Potential workers were urged by organizers beforehand to practice their networking and interviewing skills, obtain a list of potential employers and get to know the company they were interested in meeting with.

Employers represented ranged from high-tech GlobalFoundries to Stewart’s Shops to the U.S. Army National Guard.

Scribner said some people attending the fair even applied right there, and some job applicants could find success before they even left the gym.

One such job seeker hoping for success was Jim Cummings of Rockwood, who was standing in the hall filling out paperwork seeking a machine operator position.

“I worked at Sealed Air in Scotia for 14 years and lost my job in 2012,” Cummings said. “I’m filling out paperwork for Home Depot and Walmart distribution because they say they have openings. We’ll see.”

One of the employers – Latham-based Albany Broadcasting Company Inc. – was represented by Public Affairs Director Joe Condon. He said he was greeted with a rush of potential applicants as soon as the fair opened its doors. He said it was his 13th year setting up a booth at the event.

“I think it’s a great fair,” said Condon. “The people are great to work with.”

FMCC student Sheladae Colasanti, who will be graduating May 17 with an associate degree in business administration, was busy in the middle of the gym seeking a job in her field. Among the employers she connected with was local Fulmont Community Action Agency, but she’s willing to travel.

“I gave my resume to quite a few employers,” Colasanti said. “If the pay’s good enough, I’ll go out of the area.”

Job applicants locally are searching in an area that has traditionally had one of the highest jobless rates in upstate New York. The latest unemployment rate figures from the state Department of Labor from February for the area show they are above the state average of 8.8 percent unemployment.

Unemployment rates for February were: Fulton County – 11.4 percent; Montgomery County – 11.7 percent; and Hamilton County – 12.2 percent.

Amsterdam-based Capstone had a booth set up trying to attract several job-seekers to the health care field. As a center for rehabilitation and nursing, Capstone Director of Human Resources Jennifer Hoffman explained her workplace was looking for “compassionate” and “ambitious” people to fill various clinical nursing slots.

Hoffman said the fair affords an opportunity to meet “one-on-one” with individuals and get a feel for applicants to see if they’re right for such work.

Among the youngest job seekers scouring the gym was 18-year-old Fonda-Fultonville High School senior Patrick Moore.

“I’m looking for anything,” Moore said. “I need to get a job and get my life on track.”