CHARLESTON, W.Va. — From young to old, from fresh out of school to looking to change career paths or find something during retirement, a few thousand people from different walks of life flocked to the Kanawha Valley Job and Resource Fair on Friday.
More than 250 job vendors and over 1,000 on-site jobs were available at the event inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center that was docked as one of the largest job fairs the state as ever seen.
“I’ve never been to a job fair quite like this,” Charleston native Lamia Sayles told MetroNews. “It’s a little bit overwhelming as they gave me a map. They are giving me headshots right here so I am taking it step-by-step.”
Professional portraits were only one step to the multi-layered fair. Attendees to the free event, hosted by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and the City of Charleston, had the opportunity for mock interviews, practice introductions for employers, learn how to create an online presence, and of course, meet employers and apply for jobs.
Charleston native Timothy Nelson, who just recently graduated college and was looking for a career on Friday, said the fair was helpful to everyone.
“They have a lot of resources for people who want to go back to school or who are veterans. They have resume work stations, places to get headshots taken. It has been very helpful.”
State and local agencies, college and universities, businesses, financial institutions, restaurants and more were on hand to scout the talent in the area. Many places were there with current openings like Northwestern Mutual in Charleston, who was looking for full-time and intern financial advisors.
“We are looking for someone with good people skills,” Caleb Casto, a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor said. “Our technology kind of handles the numbers of the business but we are looking for someone that is good face to face with people, who cares and is passionate about helping.”
As Nelson and Sayles both looked for new careers and full-time work, some employers and individuals in attendance were just dealing with part-time work.
That included Charleston native Patsy Seabolt.
“I came looking for a part-time job, I just want a few hours a day,” she said. “The employers have been basically encouraging me to follow up with them. Hopefully, they have a position.”