March 24, 2018

Erma Byrd Job Fair brings opportunity to southern West Virginia | WV Metro News

By Mike McCullough

BEAVER, W.Va. — Hundreds of people entered the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center Friday with resumes in hand.

The U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission Regional Job Fair featured a total of 144 employers from numerous industries. Event partners included WorkForce West Virginia, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s Office.

New to this year’s event was a partnership with recently-moved WVU Tech in Beckley. WVU Tech Associate Dean for Student Development Candice Stadler said the event is great for college students.

“For our students that are here visiting local companies or regional companies, they have a good opportunity to just connect with employers. They have opportunities to interview and potentially be hired. I’m hoping that we get a couple job offers for Tech students today.”

While students were present from many institutions like Bluefield State College, New River Community & Technical College and Marshall University, there were attendees of all ages. Kelsey Regan of ACE Adventure Resort in Oak Hill was searching for candidates to work as seasonal employees.

“Seeing people that are motivated to get out there and put themselves out there is awesome. Seeing people want to better themselves and better the area, it’s a great thing.”

Sen. Manchin stopped by for a visit at around 1 Friday afternoon. He was impressed with the amount of attendees.

“We see the results that come from this and we kind of push the people a little bit. To get 144 vendors to show up in one place? That’s a smorgasbord if you’re looking for a job.”

Sen. Manchin took time to meet with employers and attendees.

“The Higher Education Policy Commission…they want to make sure people have the skill sets. The Chamber of Commerce…wants to make sure they can grow the economy here. Once we put all of those people together to see you can live right here, in Raleigh County, and get a good job and be able to make a good living and take care of you and your family.”

N3, a technology and marketing firm based in Atlanta, recently opened an office at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. Business Development Representative Heather Ingram said she was happy with the attendees she had met and hoped to fill several positions.

“We have a lot of amazing people coming out, lots of different backgrounds. We work with well-known companies such as Microsoft, Google. A lot of opportunity for West Virginians to stay in the area and do great things for West Virginia.”

Several college students, like Tymara McDowell from Concord University, volunteered to help fair participants with job searches and resumes. She said it is rewarding to show people their potential.

“Not only are we pushing college opportunities and stuff like that, but we’re showing the jobs that they can get by getting this education. Which I think is extremely important because you can easily say ‘you should go to college’, but if you don’t show them what you get for going to college it’s a pointless conversation.”