Big Bend Job and Career Fair draws big crowd

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Potential students get information on the Washington State University system at the Big Bend Community College Job and Career Fair Wednesday.

MOSES LAKE — Prospective employers, prospective employees, college recruiters, social service agencies, and people looking for career inspiration filled the ATEC building at Big Bend Community College Wednesday. The Job and Career Fair drew so many exhibitors and visitors it overflowed all available parking lots.

Exhibitors came from industry and retail, health services, military and colleges, law enforcement and social service agencies. Representatives from SkillSource had information on job hunting and job training.

Prospective employees were looking for a job, and maybe a little more. “Also, basically, it’s ideas,” said Angel Alvarez, Moses Lake. The job fair gave him a look at the wide range of career opportunities out there, he said, some of which he hadn’t considered previously.

One reason the Washington State College of Nursing was at the job fair was to catch the attention of people like Alvarado, people who might not have considered nursing as a career. “It’s kind of like planting the seed,” said Kyle Ross, undergraduate academic coordinator. The goal is to cast as wide a net as possible, from people who might be looking at nursing as one of a range of possibilities to nurses looking for post-graduate degrees. The target audience included nurses who hadn’t considered a post-graduate degree before, Ross said. “We can kind of spark that idea.”

Some exhibitors used the job fair in part to get their message out. “The most common question we get is, ‘What do you guys do?’” said Liza Fulbright, human resources manager for Moses Lake industries. The company produces high-quality chemicals used in the computer industry, among others. The career fair allowed the company “to get our name out there.” Fulbright said.

Family Services of Grant County was also collecting applications and distributing information. The services it provides can help qualifying college students, said Heidi Marroquin of FSGC, and getting the word out to them was part of the reason for attending.

Home Depot recruits for its seasonal employees in the spring, said Debi Cambo, the local store’s human resource representative. The job fair draws a lot of prospective employees, many of them college students who are a good fit for Home Depot’s seasonal program, she said.

Sgt. Donald Chappell, U.S. Marine Corps, ran a contest, asking applicants to lift weights, actually an ammunition box filled with sand. The contest “allows me to do some screening,” he said, since recruits must pass rigorous physical tests. People who stopped by the booth could fill out a request form if they were interested in getting more information.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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