STOCKBRIDGE — Hundreds of residents stopped by the Merle Manders Conference Center on Thursday with the hope of landing a new job.
The city of Stockbridge and the Goodwill Career Center held a career fair Thursday morning, and a number of local businesses and organizations were on hand to provide information and recruit job candidates.
“Two and a half years ago, we went to the City Council meeting and we suggested we partner for the city of Stockbridge, and we thought it would be a good idea to partner together to provide the citizens more opportunities and services,” said Quinton Irvin, career center manager for Goodwill in Stockbridge. “We try to do this twice a year and put those resources together as an opportunity to connect to work.”
Irvin credited Councilman Elton Alexander for working to get the job fairs going.
“He suggested we come to the council meeting, and he’s really the one that elevated this situation to where it is,” Irvin said. “We’re happy, they allowed us to use this beautiful venue to have the job fair, we’re so appreciative of them for that effort.”
Irvin said, typically, around 200-400 individuals visit one of Goodwill’s job fairs, and 22 employers were on hand for Thursday’s event.
“On average, we place about 100 people per job fair to get connected to work because of our resources,” Irvin said.
Irvin also said the Goodwill Career Center has helped get more than 1,900 individuals employed in the last year.
Irvin said the fair works to address the problem of underemployment.
“So many people are making $9 and $10 an hour when they’re used to making $40,000 a year,” Irvin said. “So, they’re working, but not to the level or the status they’re used to. Our goal is for people to rise above that poverty level. You’d be shocked at how many people are living in poverty standards and making poverty wages.”
Camilla Moore, Stockbridge assistant city manager, said the job fair was about helping those who haven’t recovered from the decline of the economy.
“I think one of the unique things of what we’re doing is, even though the economy appears to have rebounded, it hasn’t rebounded for everybody,” Moore said. “What Stockbridge is attempting to do, for the people that have chosen to live here, rather than having to go look for employment, it makes sense to bring the employers right here in their neighborhood and hopefully find an employer that can employ them.”
Moore said many of the employers at Thursday’s job fair were based in Stockbridge.
“If people want to get up and go to work, they don’t necessarily have to go downtown. The whole thing for Stockbridge is a ‘live/work/play’ community. If we can get employers who are in the area to employ residents in the area, it’s better for them.”