Career fair opens new doors for seniors

LIMA — As seasons change, new doors are opening for local high school seniors in Allen County. Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County held a spring career fair Tuesday morning welcoming hundreds of seniors before their transition into higher education or a vocation. Over 100 employers were present giving the job-seekers plenty of potential pathways.

One notable pathway included the U.S. Air Force/Space Force. Recruiter Ashley Fudhrer said students did come to their table.

“I think we have talked to at least 20 people so far,” said Fudhrer. “I’m sure we will see more throughout the day. That is my favorite part of this — the fact that I get to talk with high school kids. It’s nice to have a place and have them join us. It is really nice to see that they are still interested.”

The fair had booths in sectors including government, business, manufacturing and education.

Ohio Means Jobs Director Joe Patton weighed in on the event.

“It’s our second annual job fair,” said Patton. “We kind of wanted to time it at this time of the year because this is when our seniors are graduating. We want to get them out into the mix with our employers to get a good summer job. If they’re going away to college and need something to pay the bills for the next three months. If they’re staying local, get connected with those manufacturers or full-time work, and then maybe look at college to enhance their salary and stuff down the road.”

Local high schools utilized a bus to transport their students. Patton said any community member seeking employment was welcome to attend as well.

“The turnout last year was about 600,” said Patton. “I think we have about 650 seniors this year, then we’re expecting probably another 400 to 450 from the general public because we open it up to them also.”

Many residents like Amber Sullivan joined the career fair in hopes of obtaining an interview and hopefully a job. The job fair provided on-the-spot interviews and professional LinkedIn headshots. According to Patton, the employment pool is plentiful in Allen County. Patton said there are over 2,000 jobs within the 10 miles. Around 30% of those jobs are reportedly entry-level positions.

“I just really appreciate all of our partnerships and fellow employers,” said Patton. “The fact that they come out to this and trust OMJ Allen County to be their extension HR Department. We really appreciate those partnerships.”

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.