Though DeSoto County remains one of the better-employed locations in the state of Mississippi, there are still those who seek either to come off the unemployment rolls, join the workforce for the first time or better their current career position.
Recent statistics peg the DeSoto County jobless rate at 4.7 percent for June, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Services.
Thus, when events such as Thursday’s Governor’s Job Fair at the Southaven Arena take place, those who come looking for work typically come from outside DeSoto County.
That, however, did not deter a gathering of several employers from around the Mid-South to come to Southaven to make connections, retrieve resumes and possibly do on-the-spot interviews and hires in hopes of filling needed positions at their particular location.
“We have got businesses that are looking to hire and we have individuals looking to work,” said Adam Todd, director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network. “They are meeting under the same roof and we’re trying to help individuals that need work find an accessible job and the employers who need the employees to be able to have a multitude of individuals to come through to pick and choose from to meet their standards and their specific needs.”
The number of people who had already come through the arena doors as of late morning Thursday was more than 300, organizers said and that number was expected to grow as the day continued.
Todd said employment officials host close to 30 job fairs such as Thursday’s event across the state during the year.
“Government cannot necessarily give someone a job,” Todd said. “The next best thing government can do is create the environment for job success. People can come in and use these events as a barometer to gauge the economy.”
One of the employers represented at Thursday’s job fair was Disney, the entertainment giant that operates a warehouse and call center in Memphis.
Melody Padgett of TalentForce Staffing Services was on hand to find possible workers for the PM shift in the Disney contact center.
“We’ve had a high volume of traffic of people who have taken all of our brochures,” Padgett said, adding, “We want awesome people, so this job fair is a way to get our name out there and, if they are not actually looking, they can pass the information on to someone who is.”
Another of the employers looking for new hires Thursday was the Town of Collierville, Tenn.
Human Resources recruiter Bryna Martin said she was there to fill open positions in the town, but also let people know more about the opportunities in the growing Memphis suburb.
“Even in Southaven, people are not as familiar with Collierville and as we travel around, we would like to make more visible our potential opportunity for employment,” Martin said. “It’s nice to be able to place a face with a name and to meet somebody in person and get on that personal level with them.”
For more information, visit online at www.jobfairs.ms.gov.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.