Gerrit Huvers moved between tables at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee Friday like a judge at a middle school science fair, examining the displays and pleasantly engaging the presenters with inquiries about what they had to offer.
But it was Mr. Huvers who was being considered yesterday. The process engineering specialist with a background in alternative energies joined hundreds of others seeking jobs at Project HIRE 2010, an annual job fair sponsored by The Source of Northwest Ohio, The Blade, and several others.
"It's tough," said Mr. Huvers, who had driven in from Defiance yesterday morning. "I've been out of work just since December. There have been a few interviews, but nothing yet."
The six-hour Project HIRE 2010 event featured 14 colleges and education facilities, 16 social service agencies and organizations offering assistance, and 84 area employers, many of whom had jobs to fill.
Mike Veh of The Source estimated the event drew about 3,500 job seekers. "There weren't as many people as last year, but it was still a pretty decent turnout, and we did have a few stories of people who got hired on the spot."
While last year's Project HIRE job fair drew more than 5,000 job seekers who milled about in sweltering humidity as the economy collapsed around them, this year's event was less crowded, more comfortable, and more hopeful.
"I'm going to keep on looking. I'm not going to give up," said Rochelle Hornbeak, of Toledo, who said she lost her housekeeping job 18 months ago when the hotel employing her was sold. "It's been hard. I've been putting resumes in all over for the last two months, but some places have got so many applications that they don't even take them anymore."
FirstEnergy Corp. had that kind of experience recently, said Cynthia Mohr, the human resources representative for the utility's Bay Shore plant, who spent yesterday talking to people looking for work. She said she was still wading through more than 500 applications for seven jobs at the plant.
"You can tell we're in a recession," Ms. Mohr said.
"We're seeing a lot more experienced workers, but you can tell they're not working right now. I never thought I'd get that many, but in some cases, there are jobs that we can't fill because we can't find the right people."
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: