A wide variety of opportunities arrayed themselves at the annual Peninsula Job Fair at the Soldotna Sports Center last Wednesday. This year’s Job Fair was bigger than ever with a greater variety of employers and educators being represented than ever before, along with more folks seeking work than ever before, according to Jackie Garcia, employer coordinator at the Peninsula Job Center in Kenai. “We had a total of 60 employers; all interested in hiring quality applicants for permanent, full time and part time positions. There was a diverse range of employers in attendance; 14 oil field, 14 retail, 12 government, 11 Educational, and 9 health care businesses with many positions ranging from entry level to highly skilled. Employers expressed their satisfaction with the quality of job seekers at the job fair. Many employers gathered resumes and requested interested candidates complete applications on the spot. Other business conducted quick mini interviews. There were 736 job seekers in attendance for the job fair, an increase of 14% over last year,” reported Garcia.
Katy Jordan and Sarah Schaefer with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) traveled from Juneau to participate in the event at the Soldotna Sports Center, “We represent the school of management offering the online business and computer systems degree programs that offer anyone interested in moving up in their careers a chance to get the skills necessary for a specific position or new venture which can be a convenient option for those wanting to stay and flourish in their local communities,” explained Jordan. Sarah Schaefer is a student advisor at the school of management, “I deal with a lot of non-traditional students, working professionals that reach a certain place in their career where they can’t advance anymore and many times the employer is paying for their advance development courses which we are very able to accommodate without them coming to our campus,” she said.
From the National Guard to Alaska USA Credit Union, Oil & Gas service companies, to fish processors and law enforcement, there was a wide range of opportunities for job seekers serious about putting their skills to work or learning new ones. Cooper River Seafood’s operation manager Jeff Berger participated in this year’s Job Fair, “Cooper River has actually been here for ten years buying salmon from the Cook Inlet with dock operations in Kenai, Kasilof, Ninilchik, Homer, and Seward and we’re presently recruiting support for those operations. We’re expanding our investment in the local area for the long term and plan on doing all our primary processing down here on the Peninsula in the future. Our industry is on the rebound which means more opportunities for local people to work here, we hope to have 100% local hire,” said Berger.
Many employers found themselves running out of applications and having to reprint t meet the demand. By the end of the day consensus was that this year’s Job Fair was the best and most productive ever, “We want to thank our partners the Peninsula Clarion, Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Kenai Chamber of Commerce, City of Soldotna and the Army National Guard for all their hard work in making this year’s Job Fair one of the best yet. Anyone needing assistance in resume writing or further information on local job opportunities may come to the Peninsula Job Center in Kenai Monday through Friday between 8:00am to 5:00pm for personal assistance,” added Garcia.