By Hailey Hall, The Sanford Herald
SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College students flocked to a health care career fair on May 3 to learn more about opportunities in the health care industry, one of the highest growing job categories in the state.
According to the N.C. Department of Commerce's Labor & Economic Analysis Data, health care and social assistance is expected to grow 31 percent by 2022, or about 2.7 percent each year, resulting in a high demand for health care-related jobs. NCDC also publishes a list of North Carolina Star Jobs to identify occupations with the best employment potential, which found that 11 of the top 15 jobs are related to health care.
To help meet this need, CCCC and the Triangle South Workforce Development Board partnered to put on the health care career fair, held in CCCC's gymnasium. Mike Peluso, business service coordinator for CCCC and Triangle South, said he saw a huge demand from employers for health care employees.
"I had a large employer say we need a job fair because we can't find people," he said. "So all I did was call these places up and ask them if they had a need and to come and they said, 'Yeah, I'll be there.'"
There were more than 20 employers and education representatives at the fair to help students network, apply for jobs and learn about educational opportunities.
Drew Goodson, department chair of Business Technologies at CCCC's business technology/medical office administration/office administration/health care management technology booth, was pleased with the turnout.
"We've been planning this since January," he said. "We've seen a lot of students come out here and venture out on their own to make contacts with employers, which is nice to see."
Spokeswomen Heather Thomas and Jovana Lopez with Central Carolina Hospital also thought the fair went well.
"So far, it's been pretty good," Thomas said during the fair. "We thought it might be slow, but it's been pretty steady."
Lopez added that there are several positions in nursing and non-nursing now open at the hospital.
"We've had a different influx of people asking about different jobs, both nursing and non-nursing," she said. "We even got a few resumes, so that's good."
Students were happy with the amount of information they received and opportunities available.
"I'm looking for internships and networking opportunities," said Ashley Byrd, who plans to graduate this December. "I've been able to touch base with a few, but I thought there would be more. I have gotten a lot of information though, a whole bag of it."
Deigera Jacobs also said the fair was very informative.
"I'm looking for jobs in medical offices doing insurance and billing," she said. "I've run into a couple places to see what they're looking for and passed out my resume. I'm sure I'll get a call from somewhere, and I'm sure [the fair] will be a success."
Hannah Hunsinger | The Sanford Herald Sylvia Wrenn, 17, (second from left) and her mom Allison Wrenn, of Fuquay-Varina, chat with Lisa Godfrey, Dean of Health Sciences at CCCC, about nursing school options during the Healthcare Career Fair at CCCC on May 3.