Companies, Manchin feel hopeful after Charleston job fair

WVPA Photo by Dalton Walker U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talks with applicants and representatives of businesses at the South Charleston Regional Job and Resource Fair Friday at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

SOUTH CHARLESTON — If all goes as expected, some unemployed or underemployed West Virginians this week may be starting new careers as early as next week.

That’s the report from a few of the businesses at the South Charleston Regional Job and Resource Fair on Friday at BridgeValley Community and Technical College. The Office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the headline presenter of the event.

Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood was one company represented at the job fair, looking to hire for its Jackson County manufacturing facility.

“We are looking for mill rights, electricians, machinists, fabricators,” said Ronnette Evans, HR generalist/talent acquisition for Constellium.

Constellium has seen many workers retire recently and is expecting even more to retire soon.

WVPA Photo by Dalton Walker Interested applicants and representatives of businesses talk at the South Charleston Regional Job and Resource Fair Friday at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

“We are looking to fill that need, before the need to is too great,” Evans said.

She walked away satisfied with the pool of talent present Friday, she said. “We talked to some that we will definitely be following up with.” Some applicants may even begin testing next week.

Friday’s job fair was Manchin’s 27th such event his office has hosted since October 2015. More than 100 confirmed companies participated at the fair.

“If each (vendor) just hired one person from today, that’s 100 new jobs in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “They’ll be more than that, so we’re excited.”

The resources available at the job fair should help the job seeking process significantly, Manchin added.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” he said. “We’ll help them with resumes and with connecting with the proper job. For people who already may have a job but want to move up, this is a good place to look too. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Manchin said he’s been told there are 10,000 jobs that need to be filled in West Virginia, in every part of the state.

“We need to make sure we get the right person with the right skillsets for those jobs,” Manchin said. “Job fairs like this are a good place to match people up.”

Participating companies ranged from state and local government agencies, retail stores, engineering firms, hospitals, restaurants, unions, non-profits and higher education institutions, among others.

Partnering with Manchin’s Office for the event were WorkForce WV, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, Region III Workforce Investment Board, South Charleston Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Area Alliance, Kanawha County Commission, Marshall University, University of Charleston, West Virginia State University, Mountwest Community & Technical College and the West Virginia Press Association.

Job fairs are also planned March 13 in Wheeling, March 23 in Beckley, April 5 in Bluefield, April 13 in Keyser, May 1 in Romney and Sept. 26 in Martinsburg, according to Manchin’s office.

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