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Job seekers make use of fair

Job seekers make use of fair
Job seekers make use of fair
Representatives from Blue River Services Inc. talk to an attendee last Wednesday of the Harrison County Lifelong Learning job fair in Corydon. Photo by Kaitlyn Clay
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Harrison County Lifelong Learning had a bright blue sky and sunshine last Wednesday to host its job fair at the Fred Cammack Corydon Farmers Market. With nearly 30 employers in attendance, there were more than 400 jobs available for interested job seekers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers in the county were faced with the harsh reality that they would have to let go of employees this past year in order to sustain their business. Many of those laid off employees were forced to file for unemployment, as the nation’s unemployment rate increased monthly during the heart of the pandemic.

Now, rates are beginning to see positive change. For the month of May in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 12%. However, for May 2021, the state’s unemployment rate was 4% while the national rate was at 5.8%. In comparison, Kentucky stands at 4.5% and Illinois is at 7.1%.

With the hopes that the bulk of the pandemic is behind everyone, businesses have been reopening. And on June 19, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb joined with other states to cease paying an extra $300 in federal benefits each week for all unemployment claims in an attempt to get people back into the workforce.

“Eliminating these pandemic programs will not be a silver bullet for employers to find employees, but we currently have about 116,000 available jobs in the state that need filled now,” Holcomb said in a statement.

Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, told Indiana Public Radio that a Yale University study has shown that unemployment benefits are not, by and large, the only thing keeping people from taking jobs. Instead, it essentially boils down to wages in the study’s opinion.

So, businesses are doing what they can to encourage applicant interest, from sign-on bonuses to increased wages, all in hopes of returning to a pre-pandemic form of business.

Jobs ranging from health care to the nonprofits to the automotive industry were represented at last Wednesday’s job fair in Corydon in order to offer something of interest to anyone attending the fair, regardless of education level. About 150 attendees were able to speak with business representatives at the fair and submit on-the-spot applications or begin the interview process that day.

Myndi Thomas, a recruitment and training specialist from Caesars Southern Indiana, said they were looking to fill about 70 open positions at the resort and casino located in Bridgeport, in the southeastern portion of Harrison County.

“We were really impressed with the turnout of the job fair,” Thomas said. “We took many applications and scheduled several interviews to fill some of our highest demand positions. We look forward to the next Lifelong Learning job fair.”

For those who were unable to attend the job fair, a list of open positions in the county can be found on the Lifelong Learning job board on its website at Open positions range from full-time and part-time to internships, temporary and freelance and are constantly being updated.