Job seekers line up for some 800 openings

Companies that are hot to hire filled the gymnasium at Bethel College in Mishawaka today.

Those companies were looking to fill nearly 800 positions at a job fair sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.

A total of 54 companies showed up, so on the average, each had about 15 jobs to fill

“We’re hiring, we have 15 bus drivers that’s going to be retiring, so those routes will be open in the fall,” said Laura Johnson, a retired driver and now recruiter for the Elkhart Community Schools. “They had that referendum that got passed here in Elkhart and they have given transportation more funding to buy more busses and enlarge some of our bus routes where the students had to walk before.”

Johnson said the starting wage for bus drivers was a little over $17 per hour.

The large number of employers made for a wide variety of available positions. “We’ve got driving, we’ve got production, manufacturing, office posit ions, construction, so lots of things going on,” said Amy Lewe with Reach 360.

Yet all those different positions seemed to share one thing in common.

“We are looking to hire people tomorrow,” said Amy Lewe.

The timing was good for Brian Leeper, a South Bend resident who got out of the Marines a week ago. Today, he lined up two job interviews for next week. “With an almost two year old at home and a wife, you know, you kind of, there’s responsibilities need to be met,” Leeper said. “You come in here, you meet with 50 employers with over several hundred jobs, a door is bound to open.”

And special care was taken today to try and open employment doors for military veterans in particular. “There’s not really too many people that want explosives experts,” said Doug Johnson who got out of the Marines about a year ago, after teaching logistics to Ugandan soldiers for their mission in Somalia.

Johnson appreciated the fact that the first three hours of today’s job fair was open to veterans only. “You know, the companies don't have to be here, but the ones that are here are the ones that really are looking for veterans.”

Anyone who missed the job fair can still apply for the positions in question. All companies that participated were invited because they have the openings posted on WorkOne’s Career Connect website.

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