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Job fair draws about 1,000 potential workers

By ALLISON MILES
April 18, 2012 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2012 at 11:19 p.m.

Timmy Campbell kneels to fill out an application at a job fair at the Golden Crescent Workforce Center. Oil-related companies dominated the fair, with long lines of job seekers eagerly seeking employment.

Didn't get to the job fair?

Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent can still help. For more information, visit www.gcworkforce.org or call 361-578-0341.

Closer look

The unemployment rates in the Golden Crescent Workforce Development Area:

February 2011: 6.9%January 2012: 6.2%February 2012: 5.8%Source: Texas Workforce Commission

A line of people snaked alongside the building at 120 S. Main St., around the corner and down Santa Rosa Street.

Some held resumes and some filled out forms, but all hoped for jobs.

Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent hosted a job fair Wednesday, giving Crossroads residents opportunities in oil and gas, construction, petrochemical and manufacturing.

About 500 potential employees registered during the first hour alone, said Carole Kolle, the workforce center's director. The day brought about 1,000 people total.

"It's been phenomenal," Kolle said, pausing for a quick break. "Some people have left here with these wide grins on their faces, and you just know they were hired on the spot or have another interview."

Upuia Maava, a newcomer to Victoria by way of New Zealand, was among the day's attendees.

He said he went for the job opportunities, but also hoped to learn about the companies.

"I'm new to this country, and there are a lot of companies that I don't know much about," he said. "I'm seeing what's out there."

Victoria resident Carlos Garcia remodels houses now, but attended because he hoped for a step up in the working world. He said he felt his chances were good, mainly because he met company representatives face to face.

"When you just fill out applications, a lot of times you don't hear back," he said. "This is better."

Abby Arriazola and her boyfriend, Isaac Partida, accompanied the rest of Liberty Academy's senior class to the event. With the May 31 graduation just on the horizon, Abby said, she wanted a glimpse at available opportunities.

Although she didn't have a particular career in mind, Isaac had his eye on Halliburton.

"I've been doing searches online, looking for entry-level oil jobs," he said, while in line to speak with the company. "Halliburton always comes out."

Arnulfo Sandoval coordinated the booth for HLI Energy Services, which needed drivers and mechanics. Such positions require the right licensing and experience, he said, and some people he met will fit the bill.

Still, competition among companies was tight.

"Unfortunately, just about every company in this area is looking for drivers," he said. "They're at a premium."

Equalizer Incorporated deals with fracturing sand, and the recent oil boom meant company growth, said Jonathan Tate, who worked the booth. He said his company was hiring the full spectrum of positions and hoped to find candidates Wednesday.

"It's been great," he said of the fair and turnout. "We've had a lot of interest."

The fair attracted more than just job-seekers and employers.

A crew with NHK, a Japanese TV station from New York, also attended. The four-member crew was filming a story about how oil activity affected employment throughout the region, said Yuri Osugi, of the station.

The crew was already working on the story and learned of the Victoria fair through a Google search, said Henry Guajardo, the workforce center's executive director.

Guajardo said the job fair came together with help from many agencies. And, attendance-wise, it appeared to be a success.

The true test, however, depends on the number of hires.

"We're not happy until everybody who wants a job gets a job," he said.

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