Torrential rain did not deter more than 290 people from a job fair at Goodwill’s Petersburg Community Employment Center on Tuesday, August 29. More than a dozen employers answered questions and conducted on-site interviews with job seekers – some even prepared to make immediate job offers to qualified applicants.
“Our employment partnerships enable us to connect job seekers with hiring managers who have open positions in Petersburg and the surrounding area,” said Myra Griffin, Goodwill’s job developer. Some of the companies in attendance included Alsco, Amazon, Food Lion Distribution, Harnett Manufacturing, J&K Consulting, Perdue, Sam’s Club and Sussex II State Prison.
“I came to this event looking for work as a corrections officer or a job in a warehouse,” said Jermel Ragsdale, who heard about the job fair on Facebook. “They were very informative about the jobs that were available.”
“We have full-time positions available in packing, receiving, shipping and sorting,” said Floyd Young from Amazon. The e-commerce company needs to hire 1,000 workers for two warehouses in Petersburg and Chester. “Our benefits start on day one of employment, including medical, dental and 401k.”
“These job fairs are a great opportunity for us to draw attention to our community employment center and Goodwill’s free workforce development services,” said Paula Jones-Jackson, the Petersburg CEC manager.
Goodwill has five CEC locations across Central and Coastal Virginia, where job seekers can take advantage of workforce training services and job-readiness programs that include:
- Career planning
- Resume and interview preparation
- Dressing for success
- Online application assistance
- Employer events
- Re-entry assistance for citizens returning after incarceration
- Financial education
“We made a conscious decision to attend today’s job fair because we want to help get Petersburg back to work,” said Rennie Bernacet, operations manager for Harnett Manufacturing in Chesterfield County. According to the U.S. Department of Labor as of June 2017, Petersburg’s unemployment rate is 7%, compared to Virginia’s statewide rate of 3.9%. “This is more than just a job fair. We’re telling the community – we care about you and we want you to be a part of Petersburg’s success.”
“I had no idea this employment center existed,” said Wanda Wood, who heard about the job fair from a radio interview on Praise 104.7 FM. “I came here for the job fair, but I ended up meeting with a Goodwill employment specialist. We reviewed my resume and she told me she would work with me to create a personalized career plan.”
Since opening in 2006, the Petersburg Community Employment Center has placed over 2,400 individuals into employment in Central Virginia. For more information on Goodwill’s services for job seekers and employers, including job fairs, click here.