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June 18. 2014 7:59PM

Job fair in Manchester leaves those seeking work feeling more upbeat


Rosanne Gonzalez, of Derry, concludes a talk with Donny Clark, of Delta Management Associates, Inc., during a job fair in the gymnasium at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral Wednesday morning in Manchester. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Fiftysomething Rosanne Gonzalez said she is tapping her 401(k) retirement account after losing her customer service job more than a year ago.

Twentysomething Steve Ribecca said he is living with his Manchester parents after graduating from Plymouth State University in May with a music degree.

Both job hunters, born a generation apart, said they came away more hopeful from a state-sponsored job fair that drew 675 people and more than 80 employers at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Wednesday.

“Very productive,” said Gonzalez, whose unemployment checks ran out last December and who has sent out more than 100 resumes to companies.

Ribecca, meanwhile, gave out a half-dozen resumes to potential employers Wednesday.

“I feel like I’ll get a callback — maybe six,” he said.

Some job-seekers showed up wearing suits, more than a handful donning shorts and at least one guy rocking a black “AC/DC” T-shirt.

At stake were 764 job openings — a combination of full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary.

Brenda Koehler, operations manager at CoWorx Staffing Services in Manchester, said she had about 200 job openings statewide to fill for full-time, temporary work, including about 60 in the greater Manchester area.

She said she has two to three times as many job openings now compared to a year ago.

“We’re extremely busy,” Koehler said.

Wages ranged from $8 to $25 an hour.

She has seen an “uptick in manufacturing” with some companies needing workers with specialized skills.

“Everybody’s fighting over the same people,” she said.

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester has more than 90 job openings, including chief information officer.

“This is high for us right now,” said Scott Watkins, the human resources director.

He was directing people to submit applications online since the hospital receives about 24,000 a year. Meeting 500 to 600 people at a job fair, “you’re not going to remember a name and a face,” Watkins said.

Home Depot had openings for at least 50 to 60 part-time jobs spread among stores stretching from Salem to Tilton, according to Maria Roumimper, human resources supervisor.

“A lot of people tend, once you say it’s part time, they want to keep searching for full time,” Roumimper said. “Two part times is better than no full-time job.”

Jennifer Craig from Prudential was looking to fill three positions for financial advisers in Portsmouth. In the first hour, she found three strong candidates she planned to call for interviews.

She also had a person walk up without a resume and not wearing business-friendly attire.

“If someone’s looking Frumpty Dumpty, I’m not going to have them for an interview,” Craig said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com



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