Longview native Jeff Rhodes said he wants to leave Marksville, Louisiana, and return to Longview after being gone for 11 years.
He said he works in preventive maintenance at a Marksville casino, with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units being his primary focus.
However, Rhodes, who earned certification in basic firefighting from Louisiana State University, said he is “looking for anything to get me to move back” home.
Rhodes was among 184 job seekers who attended the quarterly Job Fair & Expo that the News-Journal conducted Monday at the Longview Exhibit Building at the fairgrounds.
The job fair featured representatives from 12 employers, including manufacturers, a private college, a prison company, the city of Longview, nonprofit entities and a cleaning company.
Big Sandy resident Crystal Johnson said she attended the job fair because she wants to return to work after being a stay-at-home mom for nine years. Formerly a certified nursing assistant, Johnson said she approached Management & Training Corp., which operates the Billy Moore Correctional Center in Overton, about becoming a correctional officer.
Her husband, Cedric Johnson, said he has been between jobs for a month after doing hydraulic fracturing for three years for the oil and gas industry. He said he approached Express Employment, BOSS Crane & Rigging and All Seasons Window & Door Manufacturing Inc.
BOSS Crane & Rigging and All Seasons were new at the job fair and said they were seeking employees with specific skills. The Longview SERVPRO franchise also staffed the job fair for the first time.
BOSS Crane & Rigging sought to recruit people to work on wind-energy projects, human resources/purchasing specialist Amy Fite and H.R. Manager Monica Coulter said.
“We are looking to hire up to 150 to 200 crane operators, riggers and wind technicians,” Coulter said.
BOSS Crane will start hiring in mid-September, with training to follow, Fite said.
All Seasons has eight positions it seeks to fill, said Jesus Cantu Jr., H.R./safety coordinator. The company, which is marking its 40th anniversary this year, manufactures residential, commercial and architectural windows and exterior and interior doors.
Cantu, who has worked at All Seasons for 15 years, said production workers must know how to work with hand tools and lift 35 to 90 pounds. He said information technology workers need to know how to update computer software to cover labor, a list of materials and pricing.
Unlike BOSS Crane and All Seasons, SERVPRO was not looking for a specific skill set, according to Candice Stott, marketing and sales representative.
“We are hiring for character,” she said. “Skills can be taught. Our tagline is we are here to help people.”
The company handles fire and water restoration, carpet cleaning and duct cleaning, and has 12 to 15 openings, Stott said.
Job fair attendee Kelli Hickerson, a Longview resident who earned a bachelor’s degree in May from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, said she wants to work in editing and publishing.
But for now she said, “I can work to save money so I can go to a city that has editing and publishing jobs.”