Twenty-eight employers looking to fill more than 300 open positions met with job seekers Wednesday at a job fair at the Halifax County Fairgrounds.
The job fair was deemed a success by its coordinators.
“We’ve been thrilled with the turnout today,” said Mitzi McCormick, president and CEO of the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, one of the sponsors of the job fair. “We were looking to put job seekers in front of employers. I think it’s very important to put the job seekers face-to-face with our hiring managers.”
With the job fair on track to end at 2 p.m., 100 job seekers had come through by noon, according to Mike Dolianitis with the Virginia Employment Commission.
“It’s paced to go well beyond last year’s success,” Dolianitis said.
McCormick noted the community-wide job fair was first held outdoors at the fairgrounds during COVID-19 and everyone seemed to like the “open-air concept,” so coordinators decided to continue holding the event at the fairgrounds.
Marlo Coleman, a job seeker from South Boston, shared that she had had a positive experience at Wednesday’s job fair.
“All the vendors were nice and they gave so much information,” Coleman said.
Job seekers got a chance to learn about new businesses and projects in the community, along with applying for jobs at longstanding employers in the county such as Halifax County Public Schools and the South Boston Police Department and Fire Department.
Harbor Freight, a tool and equipment retail company, had a tent set up at the job fair taking applications for three leadership positions for the company’s up and coming location in South Boston. The exact location of the store has not yet been disclosed.
“We’re coming soon to South Boston,” said Harbor Freight store manager Karen Youker, at the job fair. “We’ve got a good handful of resumes today. Beginning in August, I would like to start hiring for the store. We’ll hire about 50 to open the store with.”
The company Laurita, which is doing the sitework for the Halifax County High School construction project, also was recruiting workers at the job fair. Zach Laurita, vice president of operations for Laurita, said the company plans to hire 15 to 20 people for the HCHS project, which includes earthwork and underground stormwater/sewer.
“In about three weeks we’ll be in full swing out there,” Laurita shared, adding, “We’ve had a better turnout than expected so far today. We had quite a few pretty good candidates.”
Among those job applicants was Jonathan Townes of Clarksville.
“It’s an opportunity to learn some new stuff and some new equipment that I can learn how to run,” Townes remarked, citing his reason for applying for the contract construction job.
In addition to the HCHS project, Laurita said the company is currently working on a school construction project in Goochland, and the company specializes in the construction of elementary, middle and high schools. While Laurita is handling the earthwork for HCHS, Howard Shockey & Sons is the general contractor in charge of the overall construction project.
Another employer set up near Laurita seeking workers at Wednesday’s job fair was Rogers Heating & Cooling of South Boston. The company offered an inviting environment for prospective employers, with employees playing a game of cornhole next to the information tent.
“We’re the most fun company to work for,” said the company’s vice president Alyssa Rogers, with a smile. “We’re looking for 10 people to hire. We have some really good candidates; we can’t wait to reach out to all of them.”
A local homeschooled student graduating from high school this year, Darren Bowen, was among the job seekers. His sister Agatha, who is seeking a job in the medical field, also attended the job fair.
“We brought a group of high schoolers to get a feel for what is in the community and what employers offer on-the-job-training…so we can develop an understanding of our options,” said Sherry Ballew of Home School Solutions.
A representative from another local company at the job fair, Trey White of W&W Security Services LLC, said he was “excited to get young people” to fill open positions in the company.
“We do private investigations, security and civil processing,” White stated, adding employees with the Halifax-based company have the opportunity to travel all over Virginia.
The community-wide job fair was sponsored by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, the county of Halifax, HCPS, Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and Virginia Career Works.