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Published: Wednesday, 10/5/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

200 hopefuls attend Maumee job fair

People age 50 and over pitch career skills to 15 employers

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Siccorah (cq) Whitlow, left, Human Resources Manager at Lowe's speaks with Beverly Barnhill, right, from Toledo, during a job fair for job seekers 50 years old and above at The Pinnacle in Maumee on October 4, 2011. Siccorah (cq) Whitlow, left, Human Resources Manager at Lowe's speaks with Beverly Barnhill, right, from Toledo, during a job fair for job seekers 50 years old and above at The Pinnacle in Maumee on October 4, 2011.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Moving from one table to the next, Beverly Barnhill was working the room like a pro, shaking hands, asking questions, and making sure everyone had a copy of her resume.

If there was a job for her lurking somewhere among the seventh annual 50+ Jobs, Opportunities, and Education Fair held yesterday at the Pinnacle in Maumee, she was determined to find it.

"I've been unemployed for three years. I've had my name with a temporary service in that time, but I've only had one assignment," said Ms. Barnhill, 58, of Toledo.

Tuesday, at the job fair for people age 50 and over, Ms. Barnhill was hoping to find openings to fit her career background as an executive administrative assistant. "That's what I would like to do," she said.

About 200 job seekers attended the three-hour event, hosted by Experience Works Inc., the nation's largest nonprofit training and employment organization for older workers, and The Source of Northwest Ohio, Lucas County's one-stop job center. About 15 employers attended the fair.

Jon Shepard, 57, of Toledo, who recently retired from Toledo Public Schools after 36 years as a librarian, was among those who came to see what the job market held for him postretirement.

"I'm really just looking for something to do. I want to stay busy," said Mr. Shep- ard, who worked this summer for Borders before the bankrupt bookseller went out of business.

"There are jobs here, if you have the skills," he added.

The fair was sponsored by the Lucas County Workforce Development Agency, Trainco, and The Andersons. "We have tried to impress upon people that we do have employers here and they do have jobs to fill," said Doris Beach, employment training coordinator for Experience Works.

In addition to employers, several area colleges and training schools attended the job fair to offer courses and programs to update their skills to make older job seekers more employable.

The Pinnacle in Maumee is swarmed with job seekers during a job fair for job seekers 50 years old and above on October 4, 2011. The Pinnacle in Maumee is swarmed with job seekers during a job fair for job seekers 50 years old and above on October 4, 2011.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Ms. Beach said a lack of skills is an ongoing problem for older workers.

"We have a lot of baby boomers who are finding that they don't want to retire. But they don't have the skills they need to keep up," she said.

If hooking up job seekers with employers seeking workers is success, then yesterday's event will probably be deemed successful.

Brian Minor, a recruiter for Benchmark Technologies, a Toledo company that provides quality control services, said he met eight to 10 applicants that he expects to interview for the three to five sorting and inspection jobs he is looking to fill.

"It's been a success already," he said just an hour into the job fair. "I've even come across a couple of engineers."

Julie Sprague, a human resource manager for Lowe's, also felt like she had found some good potential job candidates for four local jobs the home improvement retailer was looking to fill.

"I think we've got a good pool of qualified applicants," she said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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