By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer
Lillie Hines didn’t let subzero temperatures get in the way of a job search.
She was among more than 500 people who braved Tuesday’s polar-cold weather to attend the 2014 Akron Beacon Journal Job Fair at the Job Center, 1040 E. Tallmadge Ave. in Akron.
Hines is looking for a full-time customer service job and said she found several leads at the fair, which ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. She currently works part time and also volunteers at the county-run Job Center.
“I am going to submit my applications,” Hines said. “I am just looking to get my foot in the door. I am very good with people.”
For anyone who could not make it to the job fair, the Job Center has numerous resources available, said Ralph Sinistro, the center manager.
“There are still a lot of people looking for employment,” he said. “It’s still very much an employer market.”
Tuesday’s event was the first of three large job fairs that will be held this year at the Job Center, Sinistro said. Exhibitors included the Beacon Journal, Akron Public Schools, AVI Food Systems, GE Capital Retail Finance, the Hard Rock Rocksino, Mast Trucking, Summit Racing Equipment and others.
The center will remain in touch with the 25 businesses and organizations, including schools, that were taking applications on Tuesday, Sinistro said. In addition, employers come to the Job Center weekly to interview people and accept job applications, he said.
“We want them to come here,” Sinistro said. “We maintain contact with these companies. We’ve really been building some strong relationships with the business community.”
Job seekers can use the center’s services for free, including workshops, career counseling and free Internet access, Sinistro said.
“We service everyone, from ex-offenders to executives,” he said. By law, veterans get preference, he said. Lindsay Smith, business and community relations manager with Brown Mackie College in Akron, said she was talking with people seeking additional skills to increase their employability. The college offers training and two- and four-year degrees, she said.
“People come to us for a specific career,” Smith said. “Our demographic is the working adult.”
She said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of people at the fair.
“This was a good turnout, especially considering the weather,” Smith said.
Gemima Hill, a London native, came to the fair to find a sales job. She has been in the United States seven years and recently moved from Boulder, Colo., to Copley with her boyfriend.
“I’ve never been to a job fair,” Hill said.
Mark Rockwood, from Cuyahoga Falls, said he was laid off from a job a year ago and that prospects of being called back were diminishing. He said he found five job leads at the fair for customer service, inside sales and non-commercial truck driving.
“I feel like I have a good work past and a good work ethic,” Rockwood said. “I can work for any company. ... I feel like something good is going to happen.”
Akron resident Hollie Alexander applied for administrative and customer service jobs at the fair.
“I’m a homemaker right now with three children,” she said.
The cold and snow was not going to get in her way of coming to the job fair even though her street was not plowed or salted, she said.
“I have an SUV,” Alexander said.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.