Job-seekers turn out in numbers for Duncan career expo

Duncan_The soured economy has a lot of folks looking for - and some are foregoing retirement while others are losing jobs.  And many people are finding that job fairs and career expos - such as Thursday's at Duncan's Simmons Center - are the perfect places to get a line on a new job.

Organizers estimated that 600-700 prospective employees would visit booths of than two dozen area businesses before the day was through.  Job-seekers also could attend workshops on how to write resumes, interview, and learn about continuing education.

Potential workers from all over the area filed into the expo, and dozens of high school students also left class for a few hours to attend.  "I think they just want you to have the experience of being able to confront yourself with people - just meeting people," said high school junior Jessica Balthrop.  "What we're really trying to do is cultivate for our future development of youth, and also help those looking for jobs to get jobs," said Lyle Roggow with Duncan Economic Development.

Jeremy Turpen found his way to Duncan after Hurricane Katrina.  "It was three years ago, but I've been working here and there, but nothing major,' he said.  "I'm awaiting answers on that, and hoping to find work, hoping to find something for my career - something that'll help me advance."

Several former employees of a company that recently outsourced to China attended the expo.  Some are back in school, and others are training for new careers.  "I would like to get into the medical field, in an administrative office if possible," said Karen Dean.  "I've found some connections here with some different companies and businesses - something to check into in the future."

Just as employees introduced themselves to people who could be their future co-workers, those on the job hunt became familiar with potential employers.  "The career fair has helped us to get our name out in the community," said Chris Brunner with Richards Manufacturing.  "The career fair has also helped us to kind of showcase some of the work that we do for potential customers."

Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation officials say the turnout also may help them to attract more employers to the community.  They can tell prospective businesses that there is an available workforce in the Duncan area, and it's ready to grow.