Job fair opens doors for unemployed, underemployed

By Cameron Mattern
TheStatehouseFile.com 

INDIANAPOLIS — For some Hoosiers, job searches come easy. For others, that’s not always the case.

For Maurice Nichols, 45, of Indianapolis, it’s the latter.

The 2017 Central Indiana Job Fair took place Wednesday at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in Indianapolis. This is the 8th annual job fair hosted Congressman Andre Carson in cooperation with Ivy Tech Community College. Photo by Cameron Mattern, TheStatehouseFile.com

“It’s been rough,” he said. “I don’t know. I’ve had interviews. I guess I don’t do the interviews right or something.” 

Nichols, a truck driver for 10 years, is not currently employed and does odd jobs to make money, but he really wants to start a career.

“I got applications out there and I’ll go to interviews and follow up,” said Nichols, “but nobody follows back up with me.”

Nichols attended the 2017 Central Indiana Job Fair that took place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center Wednesday. Hosted by U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat who represents most of Indianapolis, the job fair featured 150 employers and nearly 5,000 job openings.

“Constitutionally, it’s not the job of a member of Congress to hold a job fair, but it’s a personal passion, a personal directive to want to make sure that Hoosier’s are employed,” said Carson.

Indiana has an unemployment rate of 3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though the state is at near record low unemployment, Carson’s office said the job fair is for the state’s shrinking middle class. The fair also helps some people potentially seeking a second job or looking for a better employer.

Employers at the fair said the event helps with recruiting.

“I think because we are such a global company, it gives us the opportunity to have so many jobs that are open and in diverse areas because there are positions open all over the world,” said Kevin Poad, human resource manager for Caterpillar.

Employers were also looking for specific skills and offering benefits. Of the 150 businesses at the fair, 32 percent of the employers offer hiring preferences to veterans, close to 48 percent are looking for to hire bilingual candidates, and 48 percent were also offering tuition benefits.

Nichols was originally just attending the job fair because his niece, but ended up with some potential opportunities.

“This is my first one,” said Nichols. “So far I got a couple of leads.”

Cameron Mattern is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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