Job seekers and employers came face to face Saturday at Kenai Central High School for the 2003 Kenai Peninsula Career and Job Fair.
The fair, sponsored by Kenai Peninsula College, was designed to both showcase area employment opportunities as well as to give employers a chance to seek fresh faces.
According to KPC Career Center coordinator Krista Timlin, one of the most beneficial aspects of the fair was it gave high school and college students -- as well as other job hunters -- a place where they could make contact with those in the business world.
"They get a chance to interact with people, find out what's going on down the road," Timlin said.
The idea behind the fair isn't necessarily to find jobs for people right away, it's to allow people to find out what's available in the job market as well as what education may be necessary to find work in certain fields, she said.
"It's not just a job fair, but an opportunity to find out about prospects for the future," she said.
The fair was held in conjunction with the Kenai Peninsula Industry Careers Committee Cook Inlet Forum, a two-day forum designed to discuss industry on the peninsula and educate those entering the oil and gas industry as to what prospects are on the horizon in Cook Inlet. Many of those who attended the forum were students at KPC studying process technology.
KPICC forum participants attended several workshops held both at the job fair and at the Merit Inn in Kenai. Presentations included such topics as safety training issues, a state of the industry panel, job placement techniques and even interviews with potential employers.
Timlin said holding the job fair in conjunction with the forum made sense, because many of the same people seeking jobs at the college are involved in the process technology program.
"A lot of my focus in preparing was for those students," Timlin said.
One student who attended both the industry forum and the job fair was Brandon Cramer. Cramer said he found the industry panel portion of the forum particularly helpful in understanding oil and gas industry prospects in Cook Inlet.
"(Kenai Peninsula Borough oil and gas liaison) Bill Popp did a good job," Cramer said. "He really gave us a lot of information."
In addition to the industry forum, the career fair featured booths and presentations from more than 40 area employers scattered throughout the KCHS gymnasium, ranging from cosmetologists to military recruiters.
Turnout was fairly good, Timlin said, considering the fact that the peninsula's economy has been experiencing a bit of a slow period.
"It seems like we've had a pretty good amount of traffic coming by," Timlin said.
She said that much of the interest came from people hoping to take advantage of KPC summer course offerings or other services. She said because her office is funded by the borough, anyone -- not just college students -- is welcome to stop by career services in search of employment.
"The career center services are available to anyone on the Kenai Peninsula," she said. "Especially if what they want to do is go back to school, it's a great place to come."
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