Employers Put Jobs on the Table

Andrea Currie

Staff Writer

Local employers such as Pfeil’s Hardware in Troy and Berkshire Farm Center Services for Youth in New Canaan occupied tables next to national chains such as Rite-Aid and FYE for this year’s Fall Part-Time Job Fair. More than 50 employers attended the fair, sponsored by the Center for Careers and Employment (CCE) and held Sep. 10 and 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Siek Campus Center.

Melissa Melucci, Coordinator of Job Placement and Development at the CCE, said, “We try to make sure we get good employers who are offering good positions.” She was pleased with the employer turnout, “give or take 50 employers for the whole fair, which is good for a part-time job fair.”

Signs and posters advertising the fair dotted the Hudson Valley campus in the week leading up to it, and a banner was hung outside the Campus Center. Susan Smith, secretary at the CCE, said, “We tried to use everything. Facebook, we used the student announcement section. We saturated every marketing tool we could think of.”

Brandon Goldback, a Criminal Justice major, said he’d “heard about it over the Hudson Valley website” and attended both days. He appreciated the variety, as each day had completely different employers. He had spoken with a couple employers, he said, and “hopefully” had a good chance of finding a job to help pay for school.

Kodie Simpson, an Electrical Engineering major, attended on Sep. 11. “My birthday was the tenth, which was yesterday, so I just went on the computer to see what events were going on,” and saw advertisements for the job fair. Since he needed a part-time job, he decided to go. He planned to talk to “every one” of the employers present.

Despite the CCE’s advertising, not all Hudson Valley students were aware of the fair. Christine Hayes, Human Resources Manager at Trans World Entertainment, who was tabling for the third or fourth year, said, “Quite a few kids asked us if this was a job fair.” Overall, though, she said her experience had been positive.

Hera Chan, Logistics and HR Assistant at Trans World Entertainment, agreed with Hayes, saying that the event had been “wonderful… We’ve talked to quite a few people.” Trans World Entertainment owns FYE.

Mary Murphy, Staffing Coordinator at Berkshire Farm Services Center for Youth (and a Hudson Valley Human Services alumna) was also satisfied. Nearly 40 people had stopped by her table, and almost all stayed and talked for a while. They were “mostly Criminal Justice and Human Services majors, and people who weren’t sure what they wanted to do,” she said, but added that they knew they wanted to give back to the community.

Gerry Hinman, Berkshire’s Coordinator of Therapeutic Recreation Programming, added, “A lot of people shared personal stories.”

Some employers were particularly enthusiastic. On the second day of the fair, Jennifer Hones and Shannon Edwards of the Clifton Park Toys “R” Us said, “Turnout seems to be okay, actually doubly okay,” noting the number of people who had already left their contact information.

They explained that they were hiring for the upcoming holiday season: “We have to pretty much triple our staff in two weeks’ time.”

Hones called out to a trio of athletic-looking male students, “You guys look like you’d be great stockers.” She began explaining the position’s responsibilities and shift hours. At least one of the students, as it turned out, was a football player. Meanwhile, Edwards was promising another student, “We work around your school schedule.” The student jotted down her name and email address, promising to return after her 11:00 a.m. class.

Bob LaPointe, Assistant Manager of Pfeil’s Hardware in downtown Troy, took the long view. “We’ve done [the fair] ever since we’ve opened, for five years,” he said. According to LaPointe, not all students had the particular skill set the store wanted, or could make the commute work, but the fair always provided them with more exposure.

Had they hired a lot of Hudson Valley students over the five years they’d been attending the job fair? “We’ve hired one,” LaPointe said, but then added, “We’ve had him for three years.”


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