Job fair draws more than 800 (video)
June 20, 2013 at 1:20 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2013 at 1:21 a.m.
Maribel Vallejo meandered past various booths, rubbing elbows with employers and gathering all the right information.
She knew who the companies were, the available positions, skill sets needed and so on.
Still, she wasn't the one looking for work.
"We're here for my dad," she said, balancing 15-month-old daughter Karolyna Vallejo on her hip. "He's at work now, but it's just a temporary job. We're helping him find something for afterward."
Vallejo was among the more than 800 people who attended Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent's Job Opportunity Bonanza on Thursday inside the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.
There, nearly 60 employers gathered under one roof to get their names out there and find new workers.
Coastal Bend Staffing provides employees to Lolita's Inteplast plant but has recently found it difficult to find experienced workers, said Sylvester Galvan, the company's account superintendent. He said the company attended Thursday's event in hopes of turning that around.
"So far, it's been OK," he said about a half hour after the fair got underway. "We've talked to some new people. I think this will help."
Sylvia Perez, who manned Dollar General's booth, also said her company has found itself short-handed in recent months. Although the individual stores have hosted their own miniature job fairs, she said they decided to try their hand Thursday.
Perez, a store manager, said the ideal candidate will have a good personality and the drive to succeed.
"In this company, you can move up," she said. "You could start out as a cashier but move on to something else and even eventually become a manager."
Brandy Umphres, a first-time job fair attendee, had her trusty assistant by her side as she filled out applications - her 2-year-old daughter, Kylie Umphres.
Mom, who's stayed at home with her three children for the last several years, said she is ready to return to the job market.
"My husband is in the military, so we've moved around a lot," she said. "But it's time. I'm ready to go back to work."
While Umphres worked to get back into the market, another attendee worked to make his way in for the first time.
Aaron Marzullo recently graduated from the University of Texas and traveled from San Antonio in hopes of finding engineering work. Although he had not found the perfect job by about midway through the event, he held out hope.
"I'm trying to get into oil and gas, but a lot of the people I've talked to weren't really prepared to accept engineers," said Marzullo, who dressed the part in a suit and tie. "But I've met a lot of people. I think it's going well."
Thursday's fair might be done, but Henry Guajardo, executive director of Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent, said the work isn't over yet.
Plans are already underway to bring another fair - "Red, White and You" - in November, geared toward veterans.
He said plenty of work goes in to organizing such events, but it's worth it.
"I'm happy if the job seeker and the employer are happy," he said.