Some may question the need for job fairs to seek new employees when the unemployment rate in Mississippi and DeSoto County has remained fairly stable at 4.9 percent, what some people have said are near-record levels for employment in the state.
But Bryant Henley, a business development specialist with the DeSoto County Economic Development Council (EDC) based in Hernando, noted that employers have jobs to fill and there are people always entering DeSoto County who want to work.
“The unemployment is very low so employers are looking for employees and this is an opportunity for them to hire some people directly,” Henley said. “It’s a challenge but we’re blessed in DeSoto County to be the fastest growing county in Mississippi. Somewhere around five families a day move into DeSoto County so we’re blessed to have population growth.”
With that in mind, an upcoming job fair Thursday, May 16 at Colonial Hills Church in Southaven will be held to help make specific job connections.
The event is for industrial careers in manufacturing and distribution only and is free of charge to both employer and potential employee, Henley said. He added while the EDC has done job fairs like this before, this one was formed by a unique partnership between his organization, along with Colonial Hills, and Trinity churches, who Henley said came to the EDC about the job fair.
“This is a ministry opportunity for the churches to reach out to the community,” said Henley. “There are people in the community around these churches, the neighborhoods around Colonial Hills and Trinity that are looking for jobs and looking for the opportunity to apply for a job. We decided to partner with them and start a Southaven Industrial Job Fair for manufacturers and distributors in DeSoto County.”
Southaven Colonial Hills campus pastor Maurice Mosby, along with Michele Everson and Missions Pastor Jeff Summers of Trinity, have been working with the EDC on putting the job fair together, set to begin at 9 a.m. in the Colonial Hills main auditorium and continue until 2 p.m.
“The churches actually came to us, knowing that we are involved in economic development and workforce development,” Henley said. “We’re constantly recruiting new companies to the area. These churches have individuals from all kinds of stages of life coming into their facility and they saw an opportunity for some of their members looking for jobs.”
Support has grown to the point where another similar event will be held this fall. As many as 25 employers have signed up to be represented Thursday.
“The companies are very excited about this because they usually are charged to set up a booth for a job fair,” Henley said. “They also know that this is closed off to manufacturers and distributors, so they don’t have to compete with other organizations. The individuals that are going to this job fair know what kind of jobs they’re walking in to apply for.”
Henley points out job seekers who come should be ready with multiple resumes, be dressed to impress and be professional, and be ready to be interviewed that day, because, as Henley said, “There will be some companies that might even offer a job on site that day, so be prepared for an interview and potentially a job offer.”
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.