This year’s Peninsula Job Fair saw more businesses participating than ever before, which meant more opportunities for those on the peninsula seeking employment. Fifty five employers and organizations – including several from outside the peninsula – were represented at the job fair, which took place at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
Rachel O’Brien with the Peninsula Job Center said the turnout for the event was so high that her team is already considering a larger venue for next year.
One hundred and fifty people attended the job fair within the first hour, and even by the end of the day dozens of peninsula residents could be seen asking questions of recruiters, filling out applications and taking goodie bags.
A number of health-care providers looking for new hires attended the event. The Alaska Tribal Health Consortium came down from Anchorage for the first time to be a part of the fair and took applications for accountants, engineers and nurses. Finding more registered nurses was a goal of health-care providers that attended, with many of them also looking to fill clerical positions.
Personal Care and assisted-living providers such as Frontier Community Services and Charis Place were on the lookout for new personal care assistants and direct support professionals. Nikki Marcano with Frontier said that by noon she had already printed out a fresh stack of applications to replace all the ones she had given out.
The local colleges and trade schools were all in attendance on Thursday to highlight the different vocational training and job placement that they all offer. One young mother inquired about classes at Alaska Career College in Anchorage, and Career Services Director Chaz Alexander Sr. explained to her how their weekend classes work while relating to her the challenges of attending college as a parent.
Another man spoke with AVTEC Career Advisor Rachel James about how he could acquire additional certifications to supplement his degree in IT technology, and he walked away with the contact info for an instructor that could help him with exactly that.
Every branch of the military was at the job fair looking for new recruits. Sgt. 1st Class Arnold from the Army National Guard boasted about their student loan forgiveness program, while Sgt. Thomas with the Air Force bragged that they offer “the best training for the best jobs.”
Local law enforcement was represented by the Kenai Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Anchorage Police Department. Anchorage Police Sgt. Mike Jensen said that the peninsula was a good place to find new recruits, but was happy to send anyone looking to stay in the area over to the Kenai Police booth. Kenai Police Lt. Ben Langham said that many people had expressed their interest in joining, but plenty of others approached him simply to ask questions about public safety.
Marathon Petroleum came looking for engineers for their Nikiski refinery, Pacific Star Seafood hoped to find part-timers for the summer salmon season and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District searched for substitutes.