Fair chance to find work
Gathering at Liberty Place attracts a hopeful crowd Fair chance to find work , BY DAN NEPHIN, Staff Writer
Rich Rehm, a partner at Lancaster Mold Inc., is looking for machine operators and material handlers for the Leola-based plastic molding company.
He's seeing manufacturing jobs return from China, and he thinks the economy is on the upswing. Lancaster Mold is looking to capitalize on that.
He has six to eight openings. But Rehm's not looking for just anyone.
He's looking for hard workers who pay attention to detail and do things right -- the first time.
"Good enough" isn't.
"It's very difficult to find people who can reliably and consistently do these jobs day in and day out," Rehm said Wednesday at a booth at the PA CareerLink job fair at Liberty Place in Lancaster.
He was hoping to cast a wide net to catch potential hires, and Lancaster Mold was one of nearly 60 companies ranging from temporary agencies to manufacturing to health care at the fair.
Scott Sheely, executive director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, said Wednesday's fair was one of the better-attended in the dozen years such fairs have been held.
Besides the high employer turnout, more than 1,000 job seekers showed up.
Among them was Tommy-Jo Snyder, 36, of Lancaster, who sat at a table with a half-dozen other people filling out job applications in a large room filled with another dozen tables of application-completing job seekers.
Snyder said he lost his welding job in 2010 and has been working as a caddie to make ends meet.
"I'd like to find a welding job, but anything would do right now. I've got child support to pay," said Snyder, the father of two children.
He said he'd gotten some leads at the fair and was feeling hopeful.
Sitting next to him was Andrea Waters, 46, also of Lancaster.
She has a temporary agency job, but it's not providing enough hours to cover the bills and help her raise two of her five grandchildren, she said.
She took an unpaid personal day from her temp job, hoping to find something better -- ideally in production, where she's worked most of her adult life.
She's worked in a sewing factory and manufacturing plant, but lost her last job about a year ago.
She said she regularly goes to job fairs.
"As soon as I see one posted, I'm there. My friend was telling me for a month now" about Wednesday's fair, she said.
Sheely said he also thinks the economy is turning around, based on the number of, and types of, companies at the fair.
Another gauge for him is the ratio of temporary agencies to companies looking for permanent workers. There were about 10 temp agencies on hand, he said.
Representatives of two other companies also believe the economy is picking up.
Robson Forensic, which provides forensic services for insurance and civil cases, was looking to fill potentially two administrative staff positions because business is growing, said recruiter Lee Ann Traut.
The company has an office in Lancaster.
"CareerLink has done a really good job of bringing in a diverse group of people," she said.
Mary Mendenhall, head of human resources for Greiner Industries Inc. of Mount Joy, has reason to believe the economy is picking up.
Six million of them.
That's the dollar value of the expansion the company is investing in, she said.
Greiner was looking for skilled craftspeople -- welders, fabricators and machinists.
Such jobs typically pay $15 an hour, or about $31,000 a year, to start, with overtime readily available, she said.
"If the company didn't think the economy was growing, they wouldn't be adding on," she said.