ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Belmont County Job Fair provided a venue for job seekers and employers Wednesday at the Ohio Valley Mall. The event attracted crowds of job seekers ready to take advantage of the new opportunities the county's economic growth would provide.
Belmont County Connections Director Mike Schlanz reported a succession of high turnouts during the job fairs, and Wednesday's event was no exception.
"This is our biggest, best, greatest job fair on both sides," he said, adding that there were about 101 businesses present, providing information and looking for prospective employees. "That's more than we ever had."
MANNING THE Times Leader-Wheeling Intelligencer & News Register booth at the annual Belmont County Job Fair Wednesday were Shellie Higgins, left, and Kim Collette. Higgins is the classified inside sales manager for the Wheeling papers while Collette serves in the same capacity for The Times Leader.
He noted that within the first two hours, an estimated 500 job seekers visited the site while commissioners who attended the event said about 2,000 overall were expected.
"Traffic is through the roof," Schlanz said.
He pointed out prior successes from past job fairs. He noted one case where a business hired 12 people resulting from last year's job fair. He added that his department follows up on employment results from job fairs, but said hiring can take several months.
Schlanz said this job fair featured a wide variety of businesses. The oil and gas industry formed a significant factor, but the fair included representatives from warehouses, banking, manufacturing, social services, retail and sales.
"It's just a good mixture," he said. He added that the Connections office has been working to connect employers and employees as well as prepare for the job fair. He estimated the office works with 800-900 people per month.
Officials present during the fair included the commissioners, the head of the Department of Job and Family Services, and a brief visit by state Rep. Jack Cera.
"This is a great opportunity for residents of the Valley to come and see what kind of job offers are here," said Commissioner Matt Coffland. "If you want to work, then I feel there is work here in the Valley to find."
"This is a service the county offers its residents," said Commissioner Ginny Favede, adding that the county has placed a high priority on encouraging business and employment. She thanked the numerous participants as well as the mall for providing an ideal venue. "The growth of this expo is an indicator of the economic development of Belmont County.
DeFrank can be reached at email@example.com.