HORNELL — The jobs are out there. Connecting those in need of work with those in need of labor however, can be easier said than done.
On Thursday, CSS Workforce NY and the New York State Department of Labor held a rather large job fair at the Main Place in Hornell, welcoming both employers and potential employees to make face-to-face connections.
For job seekers, half the battle is knowing what businesses and industries exist in the area and are looking or good help.
"People think that there's a very tight market and there aren't jobs, but we have lots of jobs. We just need people who have the skills to fill those jobs. Job seekers need to get to know what jobs are available in the area and the skills they have to compliment that field, and how to develop the skills they don't," said Kellie Christopher, business services and training manager at CSS Workforce NY.
With dozens of employers on hand and more than 250 job seekers expected for the event, the event was rated a success by its hosts. By 11 a.m. (the event's first hour), roughly half the expected job seekers had passed through the doors.
"In terms of jobs markets, it's very strong. There are a lot of employers looking for people. Nationally, the number of job openings is greater than those seeking work. Locally, I don't think we're far off that," said CSS Workforce NY Executive Director Daniel Porter. "This is a great time to look for work. If you're looking for part-time work, looking to get your toes back in the water, or are a parent taking some time off to raise children, this is a great time to re-enter the workforce because there's a tremendous amount of employers that are looking."
Thursday's event was evidence of that, with roughly as many openings as people attending the fair. Nationally the unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, in New York State it stands at 4.8 percent and in Southern Tier it was 4.7 percent for the month of June.
The act of having one-on-one interactions with people making hiring decisions is "invaluable" according to Porter. "Companies don't invest their staff's time to do this unless they're getting value here."
Employers were eager to receive piles of resumes. Within the first hour The Cellular Connection (TCC) received 15 resumes.
A representative from Transitair Inc (TTA) in Hornell stated, "We need skilled people, and we need them now."
For employers, their decision boils down to just a few core principles.
"We need the same professional skills everyone is looking for, someone who will be on time, is enthusiastic and wants to work (in our field)," said Jeanne Eschbach, Executive Director for Corning Community College Workforce.
CSS Workforce will follow up with employers to determine how many people were hired, a process that will take several weeks.
"We don't do it just as a social event. We do it to land people jobs," Porter affirmed.
Participating businesses included: Advanced Transit Manufacturing (ATM), AIM Independent Living Center, Alfred State College, Alstom/System One, Amexstra, ARC of Steuben, Auxiliary Campus Enterprise and Services, Catholic Charities, Comfort Keepers, Corning Centers, Corning Community College, Dyco Manufacturing, LLC, Elderwood at Hornell, Fidelis Care, GST BOCES, Home & Health Care Services, Inc., Hp Hood, NYS Acces – VR, Simmons Rockwell, Steuben Trust Company, St. James Mercy Hospital, Stroebels, TCC, TTA/Transitair Systems and Wegmans
The event was co-sponsored by the City of Hornell, Hornell Chamber of Commerce, City of Hornell Industrial Development Agency, Hornell Partners for Growth and the Main Place also collaborated on the event.
For those who were unable to attend Thursday's job fair, CSS Workforce has four career centers in the region, including one located at 107 Broadway in Hornell.
In addition to stopping in to the career center, those in search of work can stay in the know about future job fairs through CSS Workforce's Facebook and LinkedIn pages, where announcements about pending events and job postings are made.
For more information about the tools available to local job seekers, visit www.csswfny.com.
Another job fair is scheduled in Wellsville Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the David A. Howe Library on Main Street.