Hundreds seek work at York job fair

jbecknell@enquirerherald.comApril 24, 2014 

— More than 300 people searching for work attended a job fair last Thursday presented by the York Police Department and Tender Hearts Ministries.

Thirty-seven area employers, all of them in the process of hiring, participated in the event, said Ainslee Moss, president and executive director of Tender Hearts.

Five people were hired on the spot, and all the participating employers accepted applications, Moss said. The employers included temp agencies, retailers, food service providers, manufacturers, distributors, auto parts suppliers and other businesses, she said.

“It’s a good mix of anything and everything,” she said.

The turnout of 320 people for the third annual job fair was slightly less than last year, when about 400 people showed up, Moss said.

However, Moss said she doesn’t believe the lower turnout is any indication that the economy in Western York County is better, or that fewer people are searching for work.

“I haven’t seen any improvement” in the economic situation for clients of Tender Hearts, Moss said. “Our numbers are still high, with the number of people who we help a day with food and clothing.”

Annette Freeman, 53, of McConnells was among the job seekers. Freeman said she lost her job as a residential day counselor at York Place last month after 30 years in the position.

Although she is interested in positions involving the care of children and adults, Freeman said she’s also open to new possibilities.

“When push comes to shove, I’m not going to be too picky about it,” she said. “I enjoy working. I want to stay busy.”

Chamisa Jeter, 34, of Clover, said she came looking for warehouse work. She left a similar job several years ago to care for her ailing mother, and has been looking for work for about six months.

“This is real helpful, because you’ve got different people here,” she said of the employers. “It’s helpful to see people face-to-face.”

The job fair also included a session on job interview tips, given by a Bank of America representative, that Jeter said she found very informative.

Job interview attire, including pants, tops and shoes, was provided to both men and women on a first-come, first-served basis.

Johnny Cameron, a 27-year-old experienced certified nursing assistant, said he recently moved to Clover from Asheville, N.C., to be closer to family. He hasn’t found many CNA jobs in York County and has been looking in Charlotte.

Kelly Rainey, 47, of Clover, said she was looking for retail work, although she has experience in a variety of areas, including as a CNA.

“I love working with people, that’s the main thing,” she said. However, Rainey said she hasn’t received much response to her applications.

“It’s scary,” Rainey said of the local job market. “I’m out there putting in applications, and I’m not getting any response.”

York Police Lt. Dale Edwards, who recruited employers for the job fair, said about 100 people found jobs as a result of last year’s fair.

Edwards said many job seekers have the resources to get to work every day, but they can’t afford to spend a lot of time driving around York County or going to Charlotte to search for work.

“A lot of them are glad we do this,” Edwards said.

Jennifer Becknell •  803-329-4077

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