By Estella R. Fullmer
NEW SMYRNA BEACH - Attendance by job seekers was low at New Smyrna's Community Job Fair March 14 at the Alonzo Babe James Community Center on 201 N. Myrtle Ave in New Smyrna Beach.
Several companies sent representatives to seek employees, but some expressed disappointment at the low turnout. "I am surprised this room isn't packed," said Vincent P. Ferriero of Sunsure Insurance, "with such high unemployment rates, you would think there would be a lot more people here."
Mr. Ferriero and Dina Maru's company, The Sunsure Insurance Agency, is part of the Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Agency and are looking for top insurance sales people. "With the Affordable Healthcare Act we are expecting an increase in business," Ms. Maru said. "We need people to educate the public and now more than ever is one of the best times to get into this field."
Matt Dailey, a job seeker previously from Fort Lauderdale, was glad he came to the job fair. Mr. Dailey, an insurance salesman, spent several minutes speaking with Mr. Ferriero and walked away with a possible job.
Although he had only been looking for work for a week, he said, "Previously when I moved here, I had a hard time finding a job. It took over three months and then I had to take one in Orlando."
He was glad this job fair concentrated on local companies offering jobs in the local area. "It seems like all the jobs are in Orlando and then you have to commute nearly an hour for something that pays only eight bucks. It's not worth it," Mr. Dailey said.
Bert Fish Medical Center also was present with a long list of jobs in the medical field. At the top of the list were several nursing jobs, but they also had a variety of medical technician jobs down to a few administrative jobs. Daneen Read and Mary Smith directed employees to log onto the web page bertfish.com and click on the 'Careers' tab to apply for the jobs. At 723 employees, Bert Fish is one of the largest employers in New Smyrna Beach and offers a nice benefit package for some jobs. Job seekers must fill out the application online and if offered a position will have to undergo a drug screening test.
MGM's Southern Window Fashions also was looking for a sales person to join the family-owned business. When asked if it has been hard to find employees, owner Connie Massey said, "Finding the right person to fit our business has been challenging."
She is looking for someone who will work on commission, drive a van and help with some administrative tasks. MGM's Southern Window Fashions provides shutters, blinds, draperies and shades tailored to client's tastes. The employee she is seeking will have to be able to envision what the customer wants, according to Ms. Massey.
The New Smyrna Fire Department also had a table and was taking names for firefighters although they do not have any positions open. Other employers present were the New Smyrna Police Department, Mary Kay Cosmetics, TD Bank, Western Southern Financial Group, New Smyrna Beach Building Department, Innovative Hospice Care, CVS Pharmacy and New Smyrna Beach Urgent Care.
Primerica also was prominent at the job fair, looking for outgoing individuals who like to talk to people and work independently. Primerica is a financial services company that educates people on financial matters and refers people to insurance companies to help families save money and get the coverage they need.
Another employer seeking employees was the Center for Business Excellence. The agency provides free computer access to job seekers as part of its Next Steps to Success program. It's One-Stop Career Centers provide work shops, resume building assistance, help navigating online job applications and other information to job seekers. It connects clients to Foridajobs.com and other employment sites so job seekers can browse the job listings and then help them apply to those jobs. It has offices in Daytona Beach at 359 Bill France Blvd behind the Volusia Mall as well as in Flagler and Orange City.
Job seekers who attended the job fair were afforded personal one-on-one attention from the employers present and walked away with a variety of literature and trinkets from hand lotion to key chains.