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DHR job fair draws large crowd to Selma

Veterans Administration vocational rehabilitation specialist talks to a group of community members Wednesday morning during the annual job fair hosted by the Dallas County Department of Human Resources at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Veterans Administration vocational rehabilitation specialist talks to a group of community members Wednesday morning during the annual job fair hosted by the Dallas County Department of Human Resources at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Tiera Shanks was among the hundreds who attended Wednesday’s annual Dallas County Department of Human Resources job fair to learn about positions available in Selma and Dallas County.

“Today I’m just looking around to see what’s out there, and so it’s a huge help to have an event like this to help me find a good job,” Shanks said. “I’m praying to God something can come through for me.”

Shanks, a Selma resident who has been out of work since 2011, was among the first to walk through the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center to learn about the 40 employers on hand for the job fair.

As of March, the Alabama Department of Labor said the unemployment rate in Dallas County stood at 12.5 percent, nearly double the statewide average of 6.7 percent. More than 100 job seekers were on hand during the first hour of the job fair.

The fair, now in its 18th year, was free to attend and offered participants one-on-one time with representatives from businesses and agencies looking to hire in Selma and Dallas County.

Annie Montgomery, program supervisor for the Dallas County Department of Human Resources, said this year’s job fair was an important occasion for both employers and their potential employees.

“This is a very big event for the people that live here, because not only are people looking for jobs today,” Montgomery said. “But to also learn about the businesses and resources available to them.”

Brad Mayhew, production manager for the new Zilkha Biomass energy facility, had a table set up near the entrance to the convention center and was eager to inform the participants about the 50 operations and maintenance positions that will soon be filled.

“We are a new company to Selma, so we don’t know them, they don’t know us, and this is a great opportunity for both sides to learn about the other,” Mayhew said. “Today we are trying to get people to our website to apply, and after that they’ll go through a screening process to get interviews and pre-employment training set up.”