By Jim Workman
West Virginia Press Association
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If all goes as expected, some unemployed or underemployed West Virginians this week may be starting new careers as early as next week.
That’s the report from a few of the participating businesses at the South Charleston Regional Job and Resource Fair, held Friday at BridgeValley Community and Technical College. The Office of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was the headline presenter of the event.
Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood was one company represented at the job fair, looking to hire for its Jackson County manufacturing facility.
“We are looking for mill rights, electricians, machinists, fabricators,” said Ronnette Evans, HR generalist/talent acquisition for Constellium.
Constellium has seen many workers retire recently and are expecting even more to retire soon.
“We are looking to fill that need, before the need to too great,” Evans explained.
She walked away satisfied with the pool of talent present Friday, she said, “We talked to some that we will definitely be following up with. ” Some applicants may even begin testing next week.
Friday’s job fair was Manchin’s 27th such event his office has hosted since October 2015. More than 100 confirmed companies participated at the fair.
“If each (vendor) just hired one person from today, that’s 100 new jobs in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “They’ll be more than that, so we’re excited.”
The resources available at the job fair should help the job seeking process significantly, Manchin added.
“It’s a one-stop shop,” he said. “We’ll help them with resumes and with connecting with the proper job. For people who already may have a job but want to move up, this is a good place to look too. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
Manchin said he’s been told there are 10,000 jobs that need to be filled in West Virginia, in every part of the state.
“We need to make sure we get the right person with the right skillsets for those jobs,” Manchin explained. “Job fairs like this are a good place to match people up.”
Participating companies ranged from state and local government agencies, retail stores, engineering firms, hospitals, restaurants, unions, non-profits and higher education institutions, among others.
Partnering with Senator Manchin’s Office for the event were WorkForce WV, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, Region III Workforce Investment Board, South Charleston Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Area Alliance, Kanawha County Commission, Marshall University, University of Charleston, West Virginia State University, Mountwest Community & Technical College and the West Virginia Press Association.
Job fairs are also planned for Wheeling on March 13, Beckley on March 23, Bluefield on April 5, Keyser on April 13, Romney on May 1 and Martinsburg on September 26, according to Manchin’s office.