The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 7, 2013

Hundreds turn out for annual job fair

JOHNSTOWN — Filling a job vacancy is about matching a worker’s skill sets with the right employer’s needs.

And, sometimes, both parties need a little help making the connection.

That is where events such as the annual Cambria County Job Fair can assist. This year’s gathering, held Tuesday at the Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown, attracted hundreds of potential employees and 65 exhibitors.

“I think, from our perspective, any time that we can bring job-seekers and employers together, in one place at one time, that’s really the purpose to make that connection,” said Debi Balog, Cambria County Job Fair chairwoman and Johnstown Area Regional Industries’ workforce development director.

In recent years, health care and manufacturing businesses were, by far, the most prevalent employers at the job fair, according to Balog. More diversity was on display this year, with organizations ranging from Giant Eagle, AmeriServ Financial, Safari Contract Cleaners, Forest Hills Pharmacy, and North American Hoganas to Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley in attendance.

“I think it’s that many of our smaller companies are starting to expand,” Balog said.

“The service industry, in general, is starting to expand. If you look at the labor market statistics, we’re growing, from a business standpoint, in the service industry. I think that’s where we’re seeing the growth. In our service industry, it’s your financial services, your computer companies, those type of things.”

Along with employers, the fair attracted organizations that help individuals increase their chances of finding work.

For example, the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania assists ex-military personnel, their families and other members of the community with job searches, career counseling and resume writing.

Tom Caulfield, the Veterans Leadership Program regional director, complimented the fair for its ability to bring job-seekers and employers together.

“The greatest tool I see at an event like this is networking,” Caulfield said. “You have to let the people know that you’re out there, what skills you might have, what the match could be. I think the important aspect is networking, which is the key to a job search.”

Several local colleges set up booths and informed individuals about educational opportunities.

“What we’re looking for, when we come to this, is to help people understand if their resume is not matching up with the job that they are looking for and if they’re missing a skill set. We’re able to help them to bridge that gap,” said David Brant, assistant director for St. Francis University’s Adult Degree & Continuing Studies program.

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