With extended hours this year the Annual Peninsula Job Fair not only set an all-time record but exceeded last year’s attendance by nearly 35%, according to Rachel O’Brien, employment security supervisor for the State of Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development. “Breaking that down of the 956 total attendance, 817 were adult job seekers and 139 were student visitors interested in summer work. We had 53 employers this year which was a few less than last year, but more people actually getting hired than ever before. Everyone left with great information and we actually had a table set up for individuals to complete their written applications and walk over to the Job Center and print out their resumes so they could apply for positions before leaving the fair,” she reported.
For those interested in career pathways Krystal Kompkoff program manager for the Alaska Job Corps was on hand to explain opportunities for admissions and career transition services. “We offer services to low income 16 to 24 year olds and can help them get their GED or high school diploma if they don’t already have it and then we train them and help them find a job and keep a job when they are done so that it becomes a career and not just a job,” Kompkoff explained. For the second year the Job Center partnered with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to bring juniors and seniors from KCHS, Skyview, Nikiski, SoHi and Kenai Alternative school to the fair.
The booths with the longest waiting lines seemed to be the employers related to the oil and gas industry. Jennifer Woolsey, human resources assistant with Peak Oilfield Service, said they were hiring for the summer. “We have a lot of roust-a-bout positions coming open and are looking for vac-truck operators, mechanics, truck drivers and all kinds of positions that we’ll be hiring in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be a busy summer and it never slowed down this winter so we like to have a lot of resumes in the files and this is a good opportunity for us. For those looking for work the best place to start is at the Job Center and let them know they type of job you’re looking for; they’ll send us a referral. We do hire without experience and do on the job training,” said Woolsey, who was raised in Nikiski. Military recruiters were also on hand and reported steady interest from high school visitors interested in their 14month senior option which saves students the stress and expense of applying to colleges. Healthcare positions were also of interest to those finding out about Peninsula Health Care Services and expanded job opportunities for those interested in working with people.
According to Jackie Garcia who helped organize the first Peninsula Job Fairs in the beginning when industries such as Agrium were shutting down the purpose was to help people who found themselves out of work see what opportunities were available on the Peninsula that they might not have been aware of as well as, get young people aware of what career paths were here. “This year I was so excited because every employer that came to the fair had jobs and was looking to hire. Opportunities here are expanding and it’s an exciting time to be looking for a career in Alaska,” said Garcia. For help on preparing a skills based resume and for more employment and training opportunities stop by the Peninsula Job Center in the Old Carrs Mall in Kenai or call 907-335-3001.