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Job search is hard work

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

NORCROSS -- "The job search itself is a job," Jeff Carroll said while waiting for a chance to speak to an employer at a job fair Thursday.

The Duluth resident wasn't alone in voicing that sentiment.

Sharon Dubois sat at a table completing an application for ezprints, a Norcross business looking to fill about 40 temporary or seasonal positions within the next few weeks.

"It's like a job looking for a job," she said. "I'm on the computer like eight hours a day. I'm out doing legwork, networking, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do, but (there's) not a lot of stuff coming through right now."

Dubois, like others attending CareerFest 2010, hopes Thursday's efforts will pay off.

Over the course of four hours, 512 people attended the job fair, which was sponsored by the Georgia Department of Labor's Gwinnett Career Center, the Norcross Cooperative Ministry and Norcross First United Methodist Church. The event brought together employers from Gwinnett and the surrounding area looking to hire as well as organizations that provide services for job seekers and the unemployed.

"Georgia, (unemployment) is pretty high, higher than the national average," said Carolyn Coburn-Allen, an employment marketing representative with the state Department of Labor. "Here in Gwinnett we're a little bit better than the state, below 10 percent, but we still have a lot of gaps to fill."

Carroll, 45, worked in the IT industry doing network support for a Norcross company for 10 years when the company downsized in December and his job was eliminated. He has been living off his severance since and recently started job searching.

"I wanted to come and get my resume out here and see what training programs are available and what companies are hiring," he said Thursday. "I'm doing everything I can to network and attend job fairs, just trying to see what's out there."

Dubois' position as a medical secretary in a pediatrician's office was eliminated in May.

"It got kind of slow," the 47-year-old Norcross resident said. "People lost their jobs, they don't have health care. There's a lot of people not bring their children to the physician's office."

As far as what kind of job she's looking for, "To me, at this point, it doesn't really matter," Dubois said. "I just need a job right now."

For 26-year-old Rakisha Moore, whose position as an accountant with a small accounting firm was eliminated two months ago, the most harrowing aspect of being unemployed in this economic climate is uncertainty.

"You don't know how long you're going to be unemployed, so it's very discouraging to not really know, 'When am I going to get that one opportunity, that one interview, that one job?'" the Grayson resident said. "That's what, for me, is very discouraging."

There was some hope for job seekers Thursday. The Gwinnett County Police Department was on hand recruiting applicants to fill about 40 officer positions likely before then end of the year.

Hi-Hope Center of Lawrenceville is looking to hire staff within the next few weeks, including part-time and on-call positions for individuals to work weekdays in the center's day services program, which serves adults with developmental disabilities, as well an individuals to work in one of the organization's six group homes.

"(We're) looking for people that can actually display that person-centered approach that we have for our clients," said Wilena Barrs, human resources director for the Hi-Hope Center in Lawrenceville, who was pre-screening job applicants during the job fair and planned to set up interview with qualified candidates within the next few weeks.

"We're looking to fill," she said. "We're looking to put people to work."