KeepHealthCare.ORG – Huge turnout for Chico job fair – Chico Enterprise-Record
CHICO — At noon Wednesday, when many were hunting down lunch, there were roughly 100 people waiting in line in the sun, hoping to hunt down a job.
“There was a line this long, waiting for the door to open,” gestured Amy Velazquez of the Alliance for Workforce Development, which organized the countywide job fair at the Silver Dollar Fairground. There were more than 30 private and public employers in a small exhibit hall that overheated quickly because the number of times the doors opened as job hunters came in and out.
Karm Nijjar of Ampla Health patted a pile of resumes on the table. “We have 50 resumes here. It was amazing,” she said about the first two hours. Ampla had jobs in Chico and Oroville, but the medical and dental care provider always has openings throughout its system, she said.
“We ran out of bags, water bottles,” said Sabrina Khanchandani of Oroville Hospital, gesturing to the empty spots on her table. “We’re going from 3,000 employees to 5,000 employees, so we’re preparing for that.”
She said the hospital is looking for all levels of employees from entry level people with a high school diploma to top professionals.
“We have more than 150 entry level jobs,” Khanchandani said, listing off environmental services, dietary, patient access and medical assistants.
2018 Pleasant Valley graduate Jadon Nash of Chico was looking for a welding job. He had worked for Norfield over last summer as a shop assistant and had a welding certificate from the high school, but was looking for a full-time post. He left his resume at MJB Welding Supply and Weiss McNair, which manufactures ag equipment.
“I am really looking for a job,” said Nash, who said he’d been online several times.
Jon Arnold, store manager for MJB in Chico was collecting as many resumes as he could.
“I really need yard help and warehouse help.”
Asked what the ideal employee would be, he answered, “I’m looking for talent.” Arnold said there wasn’t much turnover at MJB, but increasing business meant he had to start looking. Skills can always be taught, but it was hard work and attitude that are gold to employers.
“I’m really looking for a Class A license driver with a HazMat license too,” Arnold added.
Employers like Butte County In Home Supportive Services ran out of applications early on.
“We had 200 applications gone by 2 p.m. We just printed out 200 more,” said Kara Hall from the Oroville office. The county has a number of full and per diem jobs throughout the region, basically providing aged or disabled individuals with help in their homes.
“The ideal person is someone who enjoys working with people, going into people’s homes and helping,” said Hall.
Most of the companies have job openings on their websites.
Gin Lawson of Chico was walking out of the small building with fingers crossed. Holding a degree in molecular biology, she wasn’t sure of who might call her back.
“I can’t leave Chico. My daughter’s in high school and my husband teaches, so I need something here.”
She was looking at a position with Ampla as a medical assistant. Her job-hunting strategy was trying for anything, knowing that something else could develop.
She ended up talking to the Butte County Employment Center, and found there could be an opportunity in environmental science.
“Everyone was really nice in there,” she said of the job fair companies.
Alliance representative Velazquez noted that not only had the employment center organized the job fair, but also could help employers with training funds for certain employees.
“It was going to be successful if there were 600 (job hunters) over the entire thing. We had 600 in the first three hours.”
With the turnout Wednesday, she said she was already thinking about another job fair, perhaps in the fall.
“I think we’re looking for a larger venue.”
Contact reporter Laura Urseny at 896-7756.