HANNIBAL, Mo. -- This year's spring Hannibal Area Job Fair on Thursday at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center gave about 200 job seekers a chance to meet with a record number of employers from Illinois and Missouri -- about 60.
"The great thing is, most of these businesses are actively recruiting to fill open positions," said McKenzie Disselhorst, Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. "Sometimes people will have a booth at job fairs to maintain a presence and get their name out there, but they aren't actively looking to hire somebody. That's not the case at this job fair."
In addition to employers, the biannual job fair booths also featured veterans resources; Missouri Job Center representatives who could help with putting together resumes and other job-seeking tasks; and information on earning a National Career Readiness Certificate credential, which some local employers use to assess how compatible a person's skills are with job requirements.
"I like coming to this job fair because it's one of the bigger ones we go to, and it always has a good turnout," said Kelly Johnson, a staffing specialist with Whitetail Properties Real Estate in Pittsfield, Ill. "It gives a company a wide variety of people to look at, and a job fair is always good for the community because it's a one-stop shop for employers and job seekers."
Many people who attended agreed.
"I'm a stay-at-home parent who's looking to get out of the house and find a part-time job," Rachael Brown of Hannibal said. "I went to another job fair, and it was a fraction of the size of this one. Hopefully I'll get lucky today and find a job."
Added Emily Francis, also of Hannibal: "I see a lot of opportunity out here for me."
Mark Grieshaber was at the fair to promote the National Career Readiness Certificate. He estimates that within the next three months, Marion and Ralls counties will be certified as "Work Ready Communities." Ten companies in Ralls County have signed on to use the certificate, and 40 businesses in Marion County have agreed to use it.
"It's expensive to hire the wrong person," Grieshaber said. "With this, you take a test, and it scores you on categories like math, reading and deciphering information. It assesses workforce readiness and helps employers select the right candidate for the job."
He said local high schools will soon be incorporating the testing, developed by ACT, and administering it to seniors.
"Not everybody is college-bound," Grieshaber said, "and this helps them prepare for a job in the way the ACT prepares someone for college."