Job Fair Moved

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Job Fair date moved up after call comes to help community

By John Howell Sr.

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Batesville’s Northwest Area Job Fair has been moved from June to April 30 in response to area needs said Joe Buckner, director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network.

During a brief meeting Wednesday with local employment officials including Batesville WIN Job Center director Ashanti Hoskins and Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey, Buckner said that the rescheduling was “being responsive to community needs.”

Hoskins said that she urged the earlier date to respond to layoffs announced in the Oxford area, including Oxford’s Whirlpool plant, and to hiring related to the Toyota plant at Blue Springs. Toyoda Gosie plans a tier one component in Batesville at the old MOOG facility in the W. M. Harmon Industrial Complex.

“That may work well with Framed Picture,” Autrey said, referring to an expansion planned at Framed Picture Enterprises.

“Right now we’re in the employer recruiting phase,” Buckner said. “We only want employers who have real job opportunities.”

The state job fair director said that even with gloomy job forecasts nationwide, “I’ve got more companies calling me asking, ‘When is your next job fair?’”

The Northwest Area Job Fair began in Batesville in June, 2005 and has been held annually since. Last summer’s job fair attracted 55 employers and over 1,100 applicants. Over 560 on-site interviews were conducted, and 643 job offers were made the day of the job fair, according to statistics compiled by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. A total of 666 people are projected to be hired from the 2008 job fair as a results of contacts made there.

Job fair planners will meet again January 8.