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Area job fairs aim to cut rising unemployment

POSTED: March 26, 2014 12:37 a.m.

Jobless figures in Northeast Georgia have been rising so far in 2014, but a pair of area job fairs could help reverse that trend.

Unemployment in Hall County and Northeast Georgia has risen slightly since the beginning of the year, partly as a result of lost seasonal jobs following the holiday hiring rush.

In metro Gainesville, the jobless rate rose to 5.9 percent in January from 5.7 percent in December, while rising to 6.6 percent from 6.4 percent across the region that same month.

Now, two upcoming job fairs, with seasonal and full-time opportunities available, will look to address these figures by making hundreds of new hires.

Lake Lanier Islands Resort is looking to fill 400 to 500 part-time and full-time jobs for the summer season when it hosts a job fair Saturday, with opportunities available in food service, admissions and retail.

Additionally, Lanier Islands is seeking dock workers, personnel to clean up the beach area, as well as lifeguards and water quality control workers at Lanierworld.

Applicants must be at least 16 years old on the day of the event.

Mark Winters, manager of the Georgia Department of Labor’s career center in Gainesville, said it’s important for applicants to come dressed for success.

“The applicants need to be aware that this is an interview,” he said, adding prospective workers can expect to apply, be screened and interview during the job fair.

Career center officials will be on hand to assist applicants in the process and answer any questions they might have.

“This is one of the biggest (job fairs) in the area,” Winters said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Meanwhile, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual job fair on April 2 at the Gainesville Civic Center.

More than 50 local businesses and industries will be represented at the fair, which is free and open to the public. According to chamber officials, the fair provides an opportunity for job seekers to meet face-to-face with hiring managers, and apply on-site for a job.

Amanda Lewis, project manager at the chamber, said applicants should come dressed for an interview and bring their resumes.

“We do have interview areas that employers can take them to that are curtained off,” she said.

The job fair was a big success last year, Lewis said, with many applicants receiving job offers on the spot.

“It’s been a really great community effort,” she added.

And given the recent trends in unemployment, the job fair comes at a critical time for those seeking work — be it seasonal, part time or full time.

“There’s still a lot of need,” Lewis said. “There are still a lot of people out of work.”

But the good news for job seekers doesn’t end there.

The city of Gainesville is looking to fill between 120 and 140 seasonal positions in its Parks and Recreation Department.

Department Deputy Director Michael Graham said he was looking to fill a slew of positions, from birthday party and fitness center attendants to camp counselors, lifeguards and concessionaires.

Graham said he hoped to have the jobs filled by mid-May, adding seasonal workers are critical to the success of the department’s mission.

“We wouldn’t be able to operate without them,” he said.

Interested workers can apply at the Parks and Recreation Department office, at the Gainesville Civic Center, or through the city of Gainesville human resources department.


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