Job fair makes local connections

Published 2:19 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

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A lot has changed in the job market in the last couple of years — so much so that Wednesday’s job fair in Franklin may have been one where the employers were more keen to find employees than the other way around.

Many employers have reported problems finding workers these days, as they have been forced to raise the starting wage for traditionally low-paying jobs and offer bonuses and other incentives in order to attract workers. Retail and fast food are two of the sectors that have become known for trouble hiring, but the problem is by no means confined to those areas. The “Great Resignation” has seen employees leaving jobs in droves, seeking better working conditions and higher wages, more benefits and more attractive incentives.

Even so, Virginia’s labor force participation rate — the percent of the population 16 years or older that is either working or actively looking for work — was 63% in December, higher than the national rate of 61.9%. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was only 3.2% in December, quite a bit lower than the 5.5% seen in December 2020.

At the Jan. 26 career fair in Franklin at Camp Community College’s Regional Workforce Development Center, several organizations with a presence in the town of Windsor were among the 27 vendors who came to seek employees. A steady stream of potential employees brought resumes and came to talk to a variety of employers all in one place. Among those on hand were Keurig Dr Pepper, Mid Atlantic Dairy Queen, Parker Oil Company, World Market, Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and the Windsor Weekly.

Employers said they were able to find some good prospects at the fair, and that’s great to hear. We send our thanks to the sponsors for the event, which included the Isle of Wight County Department of Economic Development, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. and The Tidewater News.