Wanted: Employment

Job Fair targets workers, business owners

Finding the right person for the job or finding a job can be a search for potential employees and employers.

A job fair at Centennial Mall on Saturday attempted to play matchmaker.

"It's tough to find the right person anymore," said Frank Hanel, owner of KRAI- F.M. The radio station hosted the event that attracted eight vendors. Hanel said he initiated the job fair because he has two openings and thought other employers had similar needs.

"I think a lot of people are in the same position as us," Hanel said. "We think we could do a lot better if we had the right kind of employees."

A sprinkling of job seekers perused the fair Saturday, and some took time to complete applications or chat with business representatives.

Kendel Fawcett filled out an application to work at Kmart. The Moffat County High School junior said working at the store during the holiday season is a common way for her peers to earn money for Christmas presents.

"I'm looking for a job that's flexible and will work with me," she said.

Store manager Derek Zuver said the store wants to hire as many as 35 people for the holiday season, but Saturday's event probably would garner less than 10 qualified candidates. The retail positions start at $6.75 an hour, he said.

Zuver said it's difficult to hire and keep some employees because of a weak work ethic and the feeling people have that "they're too good for the jobs."

"A lot of people want to be employed and paid for something, but they don't want to work," he said. "I don't think people realize how hard retail can be."

But Lisa Empson sought a part-time job Saturday to complement her 30-hour-a-week nail business. Empson wanted to find a productive outlet for her free time but was seeking a clerical position.

"I'm more into the office type work. I like seeing people and answering phones," she said.

Unfortunately, office work wasn't offered at the fair, but Empson was assured that such work was available in Craig.

Jim Bebemsee, local goods manager of Schwan's, a food-delivery service, agreed that Craig is experiencing an employee's market. His company has two positions open, and he wagered businesses wouldn't bother showing up if they were fully staffed.

"You can be very selective out there," he said.

Saturday's job fair attracted relatively few people and employers, but Bebemsee attributed its paltry showing to people taking advantage of the day's sunny weather.

Rick Sonntag was at least one job seeker who gave the fair a try. Already juggling an array of odd jobs, Sonntag wants work with electronics, a field in which he recently earned a degree.

"I've applied everywhere," he said.

Sonntag admitted that he carries the weight of a felony conviction, but said the drugs charges are 8 years old. Since then, he said he's a changed man, but it hasn't changed his job prospects.

"I'm looking for anything right now," Sonntag said. "I'm looking for someone to give me a chance and trust me again. Trust is a big thing in this world."

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