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Southaven Job Fair Draws Thousands

By Sandra Knispel | Published 12 Oct 2011 10:30am | comments
Sandra Polk (left), a receptionist at GreenTech Automotive, is talking to job seeker Donnisha Denham at the Southaven job fair on Tuesday.

With Mississippi’s unemployment rate continuing to hover around 10 percent, many are desperately looking for jobs. As MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports, more than 2,500 came to the DeSoto job fair in Southaven yesterday, resumes in hand.

“What we are is an electric car company, manufacturing company. Our first line of cars will be rolling off at the end of this month and we’ll be moving to the Tunica area within the next 18 to 24 months. Do you have a resume we can attach to that?” asks Sandra Polk.

“I ran out of resumes but do you have an e-mail address that I can e-mail it to?” replies Donnisha Denham.”

“Sure,' says Polk.

Sandra Polk is a receptionist at GreenTech Automotive, whose company is hiring across the board: marketing, administration, warehouse, logistics, production, accounting, housekeeping and sales. Applicant Donnisha Denham is looking for a second income.

“Sales might interest me and housekeeping and warehouse because I have plenty [of] experience in that.” Reporter: “What was your last job?” “Well currently, I’m a security officer. I’m looking for an additional job anything that can fill whatever opening I have available." Reporter: “Because one job just isn’t enough to pay the bills?” “Never. Never enough. You can never stop working,” replies Denham.

The event here in Southaven is the 15th state-sponsored job fair this year. Out of the 2,500 who came, 515 walked away with a job offer in hand. Adam Todd is the director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network.

“We seek out real job opportunities by organizations who are actually hiring. We put them under one roof. And that is giving an individual who is seeking a work opportunity – the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to meet with that many people in one day. So, that is the essence of what we do.”

For human resource managers, like Minnie Hightower at A.L.P. Lighting Components in Olive Branch, being able to look an applicant in the eye helps whittling down the stack of resumes:

“We can train people, we can teach them skills. But we can’t teach them energy and we can’t teach them zeal for the job, and for the company and for growth. So that’s the initial first impression. We get to realize ‘Ok, this person has a spark in their eye. We can train them, they are worth investing in.’"

Hightower says the caliber of applicants has been very good and vows to be back next year. Meanwhile the next area job fair will take place at the Leflore County Civic Center in Greenwood on October 20th.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News.



Sandra Polk (left), a receptionist at GreenTech Automotive, is talking to job seeker Donnisha Denham at the Southaven job fair on Tuesday.



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