Last updated: March 20. 2014 3:12PM - 2008 Views
Aaron K. Nelson anelson@civitasmedia.com

Over 260 job-seekers filled the room at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center on Wednesday.
Over 260 job-seekers filled the room at the Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center on Wednesday.
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PRESTONSBURG — Over 20 employers turned out to greet over 260 applicants at a job fair hosted at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park’s Wilkinson-Stumbo Convention Center on Wednesday.

When the doors opened at 10 a.m., potential hirees filed in and, almost immediately, the earnest interest in one company, GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance, created a line that congested the flow into the room.

“We know that, unfortunately, there have been a lot of [mine] closures in the Eastern Kentucky area, so we know that there are a lot of great folks here looking for jobs, that are experienced, that really know the industry, and so that’s why we came here,” said Derek Jackson, director of human resources for GMS.

In deference to their company’s “minimum of 75 to 100” vacant positions, GMS is planning to hold additional job fairs in Pikeville, Harlan, Whitesburg and South Williamson in the coming weeks. You can find out more and apply online at gmsminerepair.com.

Even Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, the host of the event, was itself was among those hiring. Kristi Stevenson, a senior recruiter with their Winchester-based staffing agency, Adecco USA, was on hand seeking employees for all positions, including seasonal work.

In addition to employers seeking applicants, several other area organizations were in attendance, with the purpose of making aspiring candidates more employable in the future.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College had a booth set up, where James Chafin, the coordinator for the school’s Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky program, laid out the benefits for prospective students to get into work faster.

“It’s an accelerated training program, to get [students] in, get them trained … it’s more intensified, where the classes are longer,” explains Chafin. “We also have built-in support services there, that helps with basic skills—math, reading, writing—as well as job placement, résumé development, and everything that will help them transition from school into the workforce.”

The New Opportunity School for Women was also on hand. The program, headquartered in Berea and now in its 27th year, aims “to improve the financial, educational, and personal circumstances of low-income, middle-aged women in the Appalachian region,” according to their website, nosw.org.

NOSW operates two three-week sessions each year, in February and in June, that offer women the chance to develop all manner of career readiness and personal fulfillment in classes including technology skills, leadership, art, literature, civics, self-defense, interviewing, public speaking and much more.

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