North Haverhill Job Fair Attracts 75 Prospective Employees
Scott Porter, right, of East Haverhill, N.H., laughs with Jeannine Erpelding, regional manager at Westaff during at a job fair at the James R. Morrill Municipal Building in North Haverhill, N.H., on Aug. 15, 2013. Employers, including Dartmouth College, Grafton County Human Resources, and TLC Nursing, were offering more than 250 jobs in a variety of fields.
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Laura Ward of Plainfield, N.H., right, points out her past jobs on her resume to Lauri Sybel, a recruiter consultant at Dartmouth College during a job fair held in North Haverhill, N.H., on Aug. 15, 2013.
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North Haverhill — During four hours on Thursday, the gymnasium in the James R. Morrill Municipal Building was filled with job opportunities, work advisers and prospective employers.
A steady stream of prospects also showed up — 75 by the end of the event — to check out their chances for positions in health care, hospitality or sales. Dartmouth College was there, as was the Omni Mount Washington Resort, along with 15 other employers, including the Grafton County Department of Corrections, Verizon Wireless and Walmart.
Even a couple of elected officials were on hand adding support. Executive Councilor Ray Burton, of Bath, and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, were instrumental in getting the state-sponsored job fair to Haverhill. They were there to help if needed, they said.
Friendly company representatives were seated behind tables with banners and signs, eager to answer questions and offer help. There were free pens with logos, lots of brochures and applications to be filled out.
“This is one of a series of job fairs we’re holding across the state,” New Hampshire Employment Commissioner George N. Copadis said. “These events give employers and job prospects a level opportunity to talk. We’re very enthusiastic about (the job fairs). They’ve really been working well everywhere we go.”
A recent job fair in Manchester attracted 79 employers, and as a result, 2,200 jobs were filled, he said.
In Haverhill, the event’s 17 employers had a total of 275 full- and part-time jobs available.
The economy is improving, and New Hampshire is making significant progress on lowering unemployment. The adjusted jobless rate hit 5.1 percent in July, down from 5.7 a year ago, figures release last week showed.
In Vermont, the rate was 4.4 percent in July, almost a percentage point lower than the same period in 2012.
The number of jobs available is a positive sign that the state’s economic health is better, Copadis said.
At the height of the recession, New Hampshire was processing about 36,000 jobless claims a week. That number is now about 7,000 to 8,000, he said.
Jeffrey Snelling, the Omni Hotels employment coordinator, said job fairs are good sources of prospective employees for the Mount Washington resort, which has a staff of 750, a number that bumps up to 1,000 during the summer months. The resort is looking for 63 people to fill openings for management and non-management positions, he said.
In a small queue to talk with the Littleton Coin Co. representative was John G. Hinzman Sr., from Benton, N.H., who had been laid off 10 months ago from his production systems management position at Stonewall Cable Inc. in Rumney, where he had been working on providing cable for a military contract.
The economy, the sequester and government cutbacks cost him his job, he said.
“They (the management at Stonewall) were great. I have nothing but good things to say about them, but I need to find something else,” Hinzman said, adding that he hoped to land a similar position at another company.
What about Littleton Coin? “I’m just curious about what they have.”
Littleton Coin has five full-time open positions ranging from management to customer service.
If people are out of work, White Mountain Community College has a program to help them move on to a new position, said Judy Woodward, program coordinator for Work Ready N.H.
The skill-building course takes students, many of whom are 40 to 75 years old, through applying for a job to developing appropriate workplace behavior and knowledge. They learn how to avoid bad situations, and by the end of the course they go through the employee evaluation process as they would on a real job, Woodward said.
A fair number of people who come to job fairs are self-employed and may be losing confidence in their ability to keep making a living, said Miguel Moralez, an economic development specialist with the Small Business Administration.
“We have a number of people who are ready to close their businesses, and we can help them keep from doing that with the services we offer,” he said.
The sluggish economy also is affecting baby boomers already in retirement, said Jeannine Erpelding, a regional manager with Westaff, a nationwide staffing agency.
“We have a lot of older people looking for part-time positions,” she said. “And we’re also seeing a lot more employers” offering temporary-to-permanent positions. “Companies want to check out people before they offer them full-time jobs with expensive benefits,” she said.
Westaff is representing more than 1,000 job openings in the Twin States, she said.
At the end of the event Thursday, employment commissioner Copadis was pleased with the turnout.
“We said we’d be happy if we had between 60 and 100, and 75 is about where we thought we’d be.”
Warren Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3216.