FULTON, NY – Fulton’s Community Ice Arena was the hot spot for job seekers on Tuesday.
Hundreds of area residents came looking for employment.
Senator Patty Ritchie hosted the Oswego County Career Fair.
The event brought a better turnout than expected, according to Sarah Compo, the senator’s communications director.
“It’s been a great turnout today,” she said. “We have over 200 people walk through the doors in the first hour, that’s some pre-registered attendees. There’s been a lot of variety; young people, just out of college looking to begin their career and older people looking to make a career change or get back in the workforce.”
The event ultimately had more than 400 people in attendance and nearly 50 employers available.
Some of the employers were looking to hire immediately, while others were using the career fair as a way to get the word out about their business and hiring process.
Investigator Michael E. Curtis of the Fulton Police Department explained that while the department wasn’t hiring immediately, they offer the civil service exam every one to four years for those seeking a career within the police department.
“Our last exam was in 2014, we are expecting to have another next year. We usually do one every two years, although it could be any time within one to four years,” said Curtis.
Although furthered education or experience is not discouraged, the criteria to become a member of the police department requires a high school diploma or GED, successful completion of the civil service exam and successful completion of a physical test.
“There’s been a lot of people here today,” said Curtis. “The people seeking information for this career are pretty diverse, but you do have to be under 35 to be hired.”
While the police department was not looking to hire right away, ARISE had immediate openings.
“We are looking to hire immediately,” said community services manager, Jennifer Torrese.
“We generally look for a high school diploma, but we have a few working now without that. Potential employees just have to be at least 18 years old with reliable transportation, flexible, and I think being empathetic and understanding is very important,” she explained.
ARISE is a non-profit organization that promotes independent living for developmentally disabled people and offers a large variety of jobs within this field.
“This field is driven mostly by women, but we are always seeking those male counterparts. We have a lot of young men in our program that I think would relate better to a male employee,” said Torrese.
Huhtamaki, a paper packaging company located in Fulton, only had one immediate position available.
However, human resources manager, Nicholas Habel was informative to all job seekers of the opportunities provided by the company.
“We don’t have any full-time openings right now, just one position for a maintenance mechanic available. The qualified candidate would need 3-5 years’ experience. We have 500 employees and they are very diverse. We work with Workforce New York and look for candidates through the system when we are looking to hire,” he said.
Many job seekers were able to submit resumes and some even found immediate response from employers.
Molly Brown, 26, left the fair with an interview already arranged.
“I approached the Bishop Commons station and they had mentioned they were looking for help in the food service department. I gave them a copy of my resume and explained that I had a lot of experience. I had been doing independent catering for a few years. They seemed really interest after reviewing my resume and we were able to schedule an interview” said Brown.
Brown has been unemployed for two years while she cared for her grandmother and at this time is ready to get back in the workforce.
“At this point, I’d take anything with Bishop Commons, either part-time or full-time. It would give me a foot in the door there and I think that alone is everything,” she added.
She also picked up an application for G&C Foods and Lowe’s.
“I got a lot of information at G&C Foods’ station. The woman at Lowe’s station said they would be reviewing all the applications and calling people within two days. Everyone has been so helpful,” said Brown.
Erica Clark, 24, also found the employers to be very informative and accommodating.
Although currently employed at her at-home daycare, Clark was at the career fair seeking outside employment.
“I’m really interested in working at a nursing home, such as Bishop Commons and St. Luke’s, so I gave them my resume and I’m filling out an application. They even offer to pay for a three-week class so I can get the qualifications I may need,” said Clark.
As the first career fair Clark has ever attended, she felt surprised with the amount of people in attendance.
“I didn’t think there would be this many people, even the amount of older people,” she said.
Nolan Kokkoris, 21, had been to one other career fair while at college in Ohio.
“They were very similar, but this event is geared more for local work. The career fair in Ohio was mostly big corporations. They had different crowds seeking different skills, but I’m looking to stay local,” said Kokkoris.
Kokkoris just graduated this year from college majoring in Chinese. Although he didn’t expect any employers directly related to his major, he was interested in the Oswego County Sheriff’s station and the U.S. Customs station.
“I’m looking to keep my options open now that I am just recently done with school. I’m here just to check it out and see what may interest me. It’d be great to get a foot in the door with one of these career paths and get some experience. I’m prepared to get an entry level position and work my way up,” he said.
The fair was the second Senator Ritchie has hosted this year, following another good turnout at the St. Lawrence County Job Fair she hosted last month.