By Erika Webb
Deltona City Hall was packed with job seekers on Friday, March 15.
The city partnered with the Center for Business Excellence and Workforce Central Florida to sponsor a regional job fair.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office Community Liaison/Recruiter Joseph Cohen explained the application processes for two positions the department is always looking to fill: sheriff's deputy and telecommunication (911 operators).
"There's always a big push for telecommunication (applicants), Mr. Cohen said. "With the high stress of the job, we do have a turnaround."
Job hunter John Cawthorne said, "You guys would want my daughter. She types 92 words per minute with no mistakes."
She's working as a housekeeper.
"She wants to be in an office and at 90 words per minute ..." Mr. Cawthorne said, letting the words hang as he glanced across the room.
After retiring from the military, Mr. Cawthorne taught EMT courses at a technical college in Virginia. The middle-aged man found himself out of work a year ago and moved to Deltona in January.
"People say, 'older folks ... we don't want to hire you because you'll want more money,'" Mr. Cawthorne said. "How about hiring us because we need money, a job?"
Asked what type of work he's seeking, he responded, "Whatever's available."
"I don't care if I clean toilets," Mr. Cawthorne said. "I'm a medical person, but I'll make it the cleanest toilet anywhere."
The sidewalk in front of city hall was lined with CBE representatives. Ted Young, the business services manager for CBE, and his colleagues were there to direct people and to answer questions. As people continued to arrive, he said he was pleased about the "consistent turnout."
"Like anything else, it's a bell curve," Mr. Young said. "Some leave very happy because they have great prospects and some are frustrated at having to go online."
Imhotep Harris was one of the frustrated. He was hoping to secure a part-time job at the fair. He was hoping to avoid another online application experience.
Mr. Harris graduated from Deltona High School last May and is enrolled in the pre-pharmacy program at Daytona State College.
"I was looking for a job because I need to save some money to go to class," Mr. Harris said. "In order to go to FAMU in Tallahassee ... to their pharmacy program, I need to have some money saved."
Inside, a representative for a fast food restaurant said they're looking for part-timers but the application is required to be completed online. She said people want to do it the "old-fashioned way" but that's just not the way it's handled these days.
If Mr. Cawthorne stopped to talk with Tina Baczewski, a recruiter for Florida Hospital-Fish Memorial in Orange City, his daughter could end up with that office job, and he may have found his medical position.
Ms. Baczewski said the hospital is seeking to fill more than 40 clinical and non-clinical positions.
"We're always looking for RNs and patient-care techs," Ms. Baczewski said. "We're also looking for medical assistants, an office assistant and central scheduler."
Ms. Baczewski was pleased with the turnout -- "Lots and lots of people," she said.
Roadmaster Drivers School representative Patricia Yates was surrounded by hopeful job searchers.
"We train drivers in three weeks and they can be employed in four if they qualify," she explained. "Drivers make $700 to $1,200 a week, based on performance."
When asked her opinion of the job fair, Ms. Yates said, "Excellent! They've done a wonderful job, very organized, very pleased."
Primerica Financial Services representatives Jeanne Gallagher and Dave Baldauff were enthusiastic and very positive as they spoke with fair attendees.
"We're offering more of a business opportunity for people who are looking for Plan B," said Ms. Gallagher, the company's regional leader.
She called the event "fantastic, very well done, well organized."
Ms. Gallagher suggested anyone with entrepreneurial tendencies should visit www.primericabusinessopportunity.com.
Seven CBE specialists with laptops were on hand to help job hunters sign up at www.employflorida.com.
The Employ Florida Marketplace is a one-stop online resource for employers and job searchers to connect. It features job listings, education and training opportunities and career-building assistance-- including resume creation.
The site offers employers the opportunity to post job listings, review job market trends and find qualified job candidates.
In a phone interview the day before the event Mr. Young said last year's job fair was a big success for participating job seekers and employers.
"This is the second time we've worked with Deltona to put together a recruitment event," Mr. Young said. "It was very well attended last year, but there may not be as many job seekers (this year) because a number of people have gone back to work."
Commissioner Nancy Schleicher was in front of city hall early in the day, greeting and encouraging attendees.
In a phone interview after the event, Commissioner Schleicher said she wants people to know the commission hears the public and responds. The job fair is a prime example.
"I don't necessarily think our residents understand how much we're doing for the community," Commissioner Schleicher said. "Our commission this year ... I see a big move for the betterment of the community."
She said with a certain number of jobs available, searching takes perseverance.
"I talked with a man who felt bad because he saw someone (at this year's event) he'd seen last year," she said. "He felt bad that the man was still looking for a job, but you know what? That man didn't give up. He came back to try again."
Commissioner Schleicher said the city is still young. There's time for much accomplishment.
"With the economy turning around we are at the cusp of big things happening in Deltona. I know it's going to happen," she said.
Employers participating in the job fair were Alorica, American Support, Brighthouse Networks, Convergys Corp., Edward Jones Investments, Florida Healthcare Plans, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, Home Instead Senior Care, JP Morgan, Kelly Services, Lowes, Manpower, McDonalds (Dupont Lakes), National Broadband, Primerica -- Ormond Beach and Orlando, Rainmaker Consulting Group, Servello & Son Inc., Spherion Staffing, TelAffects, The de Moya Group, Two Men and a Truck, Walmart, Western & Southern Life Insurance, Volusia County Sheriff's Office and Wyndham Resorts.