HR Dept. hosts jobs fair

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, May 10, 2018

By Oniska Blevins
The Selma Times-Journal

The Carl C. Morgan Convention Center was filled with hopeful smiles and warm handshakes Wednesday as employers and potential employees discussed job opportunities.

The Dallas County Department of Human Resources Job Task Force Committee hosted its community-wide job fair in hopes of helping people find employment.

DHR director Wanda Goodwin said she was happy to see so many job opportunities available to the public.

“I’m really pleased with the vendors that are participating,” Goodwin said. “They are the vendors that our clients can really benefit from, some of the entry level positions and learn some of the skills that they need to maybe progress to other positions.”

Through collaboration with Wallace Community College and the Alabama Career Center System, DHR’s JOBS program provides job readiness services to assist people with finding and retaining employment. The job fair is a way DHR extends those services to the entire community.

“Some [people] are here for the first time, and then there seems to be others that are coming in maybe seeking second careers,” Goodwin said.

People of all ages and job experience levels were in attendance. Goodwin said she was especially excited to see current college students in attendance seeking employment before they graduate.

“This is the time of year when they should be seeking employment,” Goodwin said.

The difference in this year’s job fair and the last is that people were seen completing applications on the spot instead of waiting to complete them when they got home.

“They are filling out applications before the leave, and that is a good sign,” Goodwin said. “That shows that there’s an opportunity to gain employment today.”

The poverty rate in Selma is more than 40 percent, according to Goodwin, and gaining employment is the first step to combat poverty.

“Every time you gain employment there’s an opportunity for you to be able to provide for your families and to step above the poverty level,” Goodwin said.

Gaining employment opens more doors. However, if a person’s earnings are low, poverty can still be an issue.

“People have to be offered a living wage in order to move themselves out of poverty and $7.25 is not a living wage,” Goodwin said. “Some of these companies that are here, I’m encouraged by because they are going to offer [people] a living wage.”

Several community members were excited to chat with the different businesses and learn about the different opportunities. One of those excited attendees was recent college graduate Africa Tyler.

“I just graduated from Concordia in May with my bachelors in corrections, and I am looking to start something in my field,” Tyler said.

Finding a job after college can be a task within itself, and Tyler said she was happy to see the job fair had so many options available to her.

“They have a lot of job opportunities and different jobs in my field,” Tyler said.

For more information on the Dallas County Department of Human Resources services visit www.dhr.alabama.gov.