SANFORD - Optimism and good vibes filled the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center Wednesday as companies looking for employees and people looking for jobs, mostly Central Carolina Community College students, met at the college's 2011 Career Fair.
Fifty-nine companies and industries, government agencies, law enforcement, military branches, and educational institutions set up tables filled with their promotional materials to attract the crowd of job seekers who came to check out what employment opportunities they had to offer.
"There are many facets to the annual Career Fair," said Gina Del Vecchio, the college's Career Services coordinator. "It shows our students that they have options and gives them an opportunity to find out what employment is out there. It also gives employers the opportunity to network among themselves."
The students and some members of the public flowed into the Civic Center's exhibit hall, checking out the potential employers they were interested in. Some of the students were looking for part-time positions or externships while they attended school, while others, looking forward to spring or summer graduation, handed out resumes and spoke at length with the employers.
"I'm looking for a permanent position," said April Holder, a CCCC business administration student from Sanford. "The Career Fair has made that very convenient. I've gotten quite a few good vibes from those I've spoken with. I've also found places looking for someone with my qualifications that I wouldn't have thought of, such as the N.C. Department of Corrections and universities."
Among those she spoke with was Dolly Thomas, personnel officer, and Sgt. Ishtroop Pannu of the DOC's Correctional Institution for Women.
"We are talking with people very, very interested in the careers we offer," Thomas said of those she was meeting at the Fair.
Pannu added that they had already taken a number of applications from students, mostly criminal justice majors.
Some of the company recruiters were graduates of the college who had returned to invite current students to look into their company or agency. Among them were Anissa Phillips, of Siler City, a 1997 veterinary medical technology graduate, and Sheri Quillen, of Pittsboro, a 2001 graduate of the same program. Both were recruiting for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine's Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine.
"I've been coming to the college's Career Fair for five years," Phillips said. "I'm passionate about the work I do and believe the best students need to be exposed to research."
One of those speaking with her was Laura Welsh, a VMT student from Wake County who was looking for an externship in the veterinary field.
"The Career Fair is very important," she said. "It gives students the chance to meet people that they might not otherwise meet even if they went to the company. It's a really good thing."
Representatives were on hand from Noble Oil Services, located in the Lee County Industrial Park. One of those talking to them about a career was Nathan Ewing, who has a degree from CCCC in biotechnology and is now working on one in bioquality at the college. He took one of their applications.
"We've been coming to the Career Fair for five or six years," said Celia Scott, Noble Oil Services human resources manager. "Each year, we source some very good candidates."
Similar comments were heard by many of those seeking employees. Gena Scott, a 1983 graduate of the college's VMT program, now works as the registered veterinary technician lab teambuilder at Mayfair Animal Hospital, in Cary. The Career Fair is a win-win for her employer, as it is for so many.
"This Career Fair does a good job for us," she said. "I've been here the last three years and we've hired a well-qualified student every year."