Prospective employees, employers fill Big Bend for job fair

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Job seekers learned about employment and training opportunities at the Job and Career Fair at Big Bend Community College Thursday.

MOSES LAKE — Prospective employers and prospective employees overflowed into hallways of the ATEC Building on the Big Bend Community College campus Thursday for the 26th annual Job and Career Fair.

Companies of all kinds – manufacturers, health care facilities, retail companies – from inside and outside the Columbia Basin were looking for workers. Tiffany Sukola, BBCC communications coordinator, said there were more than 100 exhibitors, more than 80 of them businesses looking for workers.

Exhibitors filled the Masto Center meeting room, and “all the hallways are filled,” Sukola said.

In an age when a lot of the application process has moved online, there’s still room for the face to face element. “You get to see what your local resource pool is,” said Jeanne Finke, a sales agent for Sonico Inc. “We have actually hired people we met at the job fair.”

Companies came from near and far; Wilcox and Flegel is based in Longview and its closest facility is in Spokane. Company employees were looking for CDL-certified drivers at the job fair, among other positions. The company is expanding, said Elsista Ridings, human resources specialist for the company. Big Bend has a CDL program, so the company came to a place where there were potential employees, she said.

Trevor Woodworth of Moses Lake is looking for a job, he said, and made some contacts and found some potential leads among the exhibitors. “Nice to talk to employers face-to-face.”

Samantha Schaapman and Maria Reyes, both BBCC students from Quincy, were looking for summer jobs, and they found a lot of employers who were looking to hire, both for the summer and for permanent jobs. “When you’re walking around, a lot of jobs come to you,” Reyes said.

Nick Walsh and Joshua Suehiro are both from Moses Lake and both BBCC students, and were looking at career possibilities.

Both have jobs for the summer already, but Walsh said he was looking at apprenticeship options, or moving on to a four-year university after he’s done at BBCC. “Possible options for the future,” Welch said.

Many of BBCC’s training programs had displays, detailing what students would learn and careers open to them. Central Washington University and other four-year colleges also sponsored displays, detailing some of their post-community college programs.

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