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April 21, 2010 - (Albany Herald) More than 500 job seekers attend Albany Technical College’s Spring Career Fair.

Bursting with friendly chatter and prospective employees dressed in their best, Albany Technical College’s 12th annual Spring Career Fair appeared to be a success.

Despite parking challenges, more than 500 job seekers attended Wednesday morning’s three-hour event in the Kirkland Conference Center. More than 300 of those seeking employment arrived during the event’s first hour, between 9 a.m.-10 a.m.

The state’s adjusted unemployment rate stands currently at 10.6 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The national rate is 9.7 percent. Georgia’s 10.6 percent ties it for 33rd with Oregon and Tennessee out of the 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for March State Unemployment Rates.

The career fair attracted more than 49 Southwest Georgia employers, including first-time participants Gerdau Ameristeel, Flash Foods Inc., Home Helpers of South GA, Mediacom Communications, Rite Aid, Sears Auto Center and Tastefully Simple. Vendors were treated after the event to a complimentary lunch hosted by the college’s culinary arts department.

“It’s definitely a full range (with) black, white, old and young,” Cumulus Media Albany General Manager John Lewis said of the job seekers at the event. “Compared to other career fairs, it’s very well put together and organized. You can tell some of the students have been prepared by faculty.”

Job seekers and some of Albany Tech’s students were also impressed with the career fair.

“It’s good,” said Cortez McClinton, who’s in his second quarter of studying diesel technology at Albany Tech. “There’s a lot of jobs with people looking to hire folks and Albany sure needs it since lots of people are unemployed and need jobs. Hopefully, it’ll work out (for them).”

Albany Tech student LaToya Small also attended the event. Small is a sophomore studying to be a medical administrative assistant.

“I think it’s beneficial because it can help you get a job,” she said. “It helps you prepare for future jobs.”

Albany Tech Career Services Director Judy Jimmerson, along with Career Services Assistant Julie Pettway and Administrative Assistant Sandra Jackson helped to organize the career fair. Jimmerson said the college annually hosts career fairs in the fall and spring.

“I truly believe that career fairs are very effective in these economic times because it allows job seekers and employers an opportunity to talk about qualified skills,” said Jimmerson, who has worked for the college for five years. “The companies are looking for job seekers that can elaborate on their qualifications and technical skills.”

Jimmerson noted that Albany Tech’s Career Service Department recently started renovating the college’s old agriculture building, which in the future will house the career services division. She said the renovation project is set to take about 12 months and that it would be utilizing Albany Tech students.

“I feel like I’m doing everything I can to reassure you. I wonder if you would still have a hard time trusting me if we lived in the same place.”

By, Ethan Fowler

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