On Thursday, about two dozen people attended the Blount County Public Library jobs AJC state-highlighted career fair to look for work with several local businesses and agencies.
The library job fair featured employers including Blackberry Farms and government agencies like the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville Police Department jobs as part of Tennessee’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s “Keep Working TN Week” promotion.
Ivan Green is with Alcoa’s AJC and said the two-hour event was about active, intentional recruitment. “Having job seekers come in and see all these different employers in one place we hope encourages more to come out,” he said in an interview. “That’s really the purpose of the job fair.”
As far as he knows, this is the first fall fair event. He hinted that there might be more, saying that it would depend on the population. The Blount County Chamber of Commerce’s spring fair, which takes place every year, will undoubtedly involve the AJC. On the other hand, Green noted that for those who couldn’t make it to the job fair on Aug. 16, the opportunity to be linked is still there.
The Alcoa-based job center at 366 Glascock St. is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday and can help connect Blount Countians to both employers that were at the fair and many others.
“We have a resource room where you can look for jobs that are posted on the Jobs4TN website,” Green said. “We can also help you with your resumé or help you connect directly to employers, We have relationships with employers which allow us to vouch for you.”
According to Green, employees at the company can assist job seekers with interview preparation as well. They might also look into alternatives for paid training or financial assistance.
In addition, according to Green, AJC aids in educational jobs and endeavors. Adult education, as well as education for those who have been displaced, are both offered there.
“The job centers have a variety of services from various partners, which are beneficial to the job seekers,” Green said. “The future looks bright. We are excited about more opportunities for more job seekers to come out. We’re very optimistic about that.”
Blount is no new to the national trend, which has seen companies from a wide range of industries being compelled to adapt. Many small and large local firms are rethinking their employment arrangements in response to a rapidly evolving market. Some are even allowing people to apply and get hired right away if they show up for a walk-in-interview. Others provide incentives like sign-on bonuses, higher salaries, and more.
“Across the state, Tennessee employers continue struggling to find a qualified workforce,” Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord said in a news release announcing the week of fairs. But he also said Tennessee has the labor resources to meet that deficit. “We have the people and the programs available to not only help Tennesseans find employment but help them start on the journey towards a new career.”
Preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment figures for August show that the state’s unemployment rate was 4.6%, down from 4.7% in July. Blount County’s unemployment rate was 4.6% in June, according to the most recent statistics available. According to Tennessee labor force data, Blount had a labor force participation rate of 60.9 percent in July, with a total of 62,776 persons employed or seeking work.
On Jobs4TN.gov, a Blount County job search shows there are currently about 4,000 job openings. The highest number of openings is in nursing.
Source: Maryville Daily Times