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Job fair draws 1,000 seeking employment

By Matthew Prosser
Jan. 19, 2016 at 11:14 p.m.

Above: Daingerfield High School students Dustin Cofer, from left, Guadalupe Deleon, Sarah Coleman, Tydeija Kelley and Yarali Samano and their principal, Ryan Carroll, speak Tuesday with Talent Acquisition Leader Crystal Bentley of Convergys during the ETXJobs.com Job Fair and Expo at the Longview Exhibit Center. Carroll brought the students to the fair so they could get experience in interacting with potential employers. Upper left: Kay Griffin speaks with Javier Valdez of the Texas Association of Developing Colleges. Upper right: Becky Rockwell speaks with Connie Milligan of Texas Bank and Trust.

Michael Clewis said he appreciated the opportunity to network with numerous employers at a single location during Tuesday's ETXJobs.com Job Fair & Expo but was disappointed to find so few industrial jobs available in the Longview area.

"The businesses that are here, they've all been exceedingly helpful and supportive ... letting me know what's available and what they're looking for. It's been great," he said. "When you're looking for work — and with the economy being like it is — you're blessed to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself."

Clewis was among about 1,000 area job-seekers who turned out for the event hosted by the News-Journal at the Longview Exhibit Building at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center.

Paul Gill of Longview said he had hoped to see more oil field-related jobs offered. Their relative absence is a reflection of the continuing slowdown in the energy industry, which has effectively stopped hiring and led to a string of layoffs at area companies connected with the oil field. The latest was Flint Energy Services, which said in early December that it would shut down its Kilgore facility this month and lay off 43 employees. They will join tens of thousands of other Texans laid off in the past year as crude oil prices have plummeted.

But the job fair showed many jobs are available in other industries.

Crystal Bentley of Convergys said her company had upward of 1,000 positions it is seeking to fill and referred numerous people from the job fair directly to the company's offices for interviews.

"We're aggressively seeking qualified candidates," she said. "Anyone unable to make the job fair is welcome to come to our offices on Judson Road."

Good Shepherd Medical Center human resources consultants Jennifer Hancock and Bonnie Kosiorek said the hospital also has a variety of openings.

"We have positions available from entry level up to professional," Hancock said. "We're encouraging interested applicants to go online at gsmc.org/careers and search the jobs database on our website."

Good Shepherd has about 50 nurse openings in Longview — in areas from emergency room to surgery — and the hospital had its own job fair this past summer and offered signing bonuses to some candidates to fill a variety of nursing positions.

ETXJobs.com Job Fair & Expo coordinator April Harlow said employers from a variety of industries — including health care, auto and retail sales, banking, trucking and insurance — offered positions at the job fair. And she said she was pleased with the number of residents "seeking jobs in a wide variety of industries," adding the News-Journal is planning job fairs in April, July and October.

"We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring local employers together with quality prospective employees," she said. "The mission of our paper is to serve our community. Today we achieved our objective."

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