Local News

Job seekers hope for leads at WRAL JobLink Career Expo

Posted September 23, 2009 6:35 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2009 6:59 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of unemployed people flooded the Raleigh Convention Center on Wednesday to network with potential employers.

WRAL and the Capital Area Workforce Development Board presented the , the Triangle's largest career fair.

More than 80 local employers with local job openings were conducting interviews.

Burt's Bees representatives said the company has 14 open positions.

“Everything from things in our main office, accounting, IT, marketing and a few opportunities in our manufacturing facility as well,” said Monica Boitnot of Burt’s Bees.

Morrisville-based Hipp Engineering had representatives at the fair. The company is looking for contractors to work with clients in the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries.

“We’re looking for project managers, project engineers, with a background in electrical mechanical,” said Terry Prince, of Hipp Engineering.

Many companies at the fair said they expect to have even more openings in the months to come.

“It was a little bit slow at the beginning of the year. Now we’re starting to see an increase in our workload,” Prince said.

The free event also featured community and education resources.

“You hear it on the news, and but then when you actually come out here and see how many people are looking, it’s a reality check,” said Sharon Thorpe, who was laid off four months ago after working for 11 years at a research company.

Thorpe was among the 3,500 job seekers that attended the event.

David Ange, who was laid off after working in the trucking industry for the past 20 years, was first in line to enter the fair at 10 a.m.

"It's been rough. We lost our house," Ange said.

"After 19 years of not having to worry about it, it is a humbling experience," said Dan Wilbur, who worked for a truck leasing company before being let go. "I'll start at the ground floor just to get started."

For those who need extra help, career coaches and other presenters were on hand at the expo. Free workshops included coping with the stresses of job loss and more information about credit and foreclosure options.

Out of work for almost a year, Ken Hoadley said seeing so many unemployed or underemployed people was depressing, but he said the event gave him hope.