By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
In the wake of Edgecombe County’s rising unemployment rate, a job fair Friday morning on Edgecombe Community College’s (ECC) Tarboro campus brought hope to job seekers.
“They’re hopeful there are jobs in this area,” said Marie Wilson, career counselor/recruiter at ECC. The majority of the representatives at the job fair were from the Tarboro or Rocky Mount area and nearly 400 potential job applicants came to this year’s fair — double last year’s total. The Daily Southerner co-sponsored the job fair, with ECC.
“We had a very, very good turnout,” Wilson said. “I’m very pleased.”
The majority of the employers at the job fair were looking to fill open positions, Wilson said. A number of those employers were in the healthcare field.
“We’ve got some great resumes, so hopefully we’ll be able to fill some of the positions we have available,” said Brenda Edwards, a marketing representative at Our Community Hospital in Scotland Neck. She said she had encouraged many of the applicants at the fair to get their nursing assistant certification.
“Some applicants have decided that they’re going to enroll in a CNA or an LPN or RN program,” Wilson said. “Of any type field, I think the healthcare field is hiring a good number of applicants.”
“We have a large need for nurses,” said Ashley Crisafulli Miles, employment and recruitment specialist at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital. “You always have an opportunity to help somebody. We provide phenomenal care at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital.”
At 16.6 percent in the month of January, the county’s unemployment rate is at the highest level in 37 months.
“I think it’s been helpful,” said job seeker Mychal McDowell of Tarboro. “I was looking for medical field work, mostly laboratory.”
McDowell will graduate from Elizabeth City State University this semester with a major in biology/pre-med. Ultimately, he plans to earn a doctorate and teach.
Tie’sha Lewis also will graduate in May, from the elementary education program at ECC. She said she wants to do “anything working with children,” preferably at the pre-K or kindergarten level. Lewis visited Pitt County Schools’ booth.
“There’s been a steady stream of people coming in, asking questions,” said Pitt personnel coordinator Kishlyn Jones. “They’re enthusiastic and eager about being out here and what they can possibly find.”
While some job seekers had a specific goal in mind, others came to the fair to find any type of work to fit their qualifications.
Melvin Ross of Tarboro visited the booths of temporary job placement agencies, Holden Temporaries and Kelly Services, as well as Waffle House.
“It’s all right here in one spot,” Ross said, regarding the convenience of the job fair. Devin Simmons of Tarboro said she was looking for whatever type of work she could find.
“It’s just hard getting hired in Tarboro,” she said.