The Mississippi Department of Employment Security hosted its annual I-59 Job Fair in Laurel on Thursday at Sawmill Square Mall. Over 40 local businesses participated in the one-day event as part of the Governor’s Job Fair Network of Mississippi.
"We're in our eighth or ninth year coming to Laurel," said Adam Todd, Director of the Governor's Job Fair Network. "We do multiple events like this across the state of Mississippi every year. Our organization will go anywhere we're invited. The local EDA and Chamber of Commerce reach out to us, and we plan it. It's turned into an annual event."
The MDES holds 30 Job Fair events across the state in a given year, said Todd.
"Every business here is actively hiring and needing people to go to work," added Todd. "We've had between 100-150 people come through the doors so far, and we've talked to many individuals leaving this facility and going to home offices to complete paperwork. So, a lot of great things are happening today. Many people are walking away with smiles and jobs to walk into."
The job market is competitive, according to Todd. Events — like the one on Thursday — provide employers an opportunity to put faces to applicants applying for jobs.
"In today's environment, if you are looking for a job, you have a lot of options," said Todd. "You can sit down at your computer and find all the applications and fill out all the resumes, or you can come to an event where you can talk face to face with someone who is part of the hiring process."
Todd called the Job Fair a success for local businesses.
"Based on some of the chatter we're heading, a lot of businesses are finding some good fits," said Todd. "In today's environment, if a company can make one good hire, they're ecstatic. We know a lot of that has happened here today."
South Central Regional Medical Center Recruiter Laura Walters said Thursday’s event provided several good candidates to fill needed positions.
“We’ve gotten some good candidates for potential employees here today,” said Walters. “We have a few directors here today doing on-site interviews.”
"The turnout seems better than last year," Walters added.
The Mississippi Governor’s Job Fair is a community-sponsored event that brings together a diverse group of employers actively looking for employees and is sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Mississippi Development Authority, and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.