Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Brandy Swanson, left, of Gem Shopping Network in Duluth, accepts the resume of Diana Vesga during the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's annual Business Expo and Job Fair on Thursday at the Gwinnett Center.
DULUTH -- Kyle Johnson is doing whatever he can to get the bills paid.
He moved to Lawrenceville last year so his fiancee could take a better job. But despite building financial aid offices in the Northeast, he hasn't been able to break into the market here because he doesn't have a degree.
So Johnson spent Thursday at Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo networking as part of his current job, marketing gowaiter.com, then moving to the job fair next door to pass out his resume for other opportunities.
"I'm making connections," Johnson said, adding that he wants to start a business eventually but is torn between the need to pay the bills. "There's just so much opportunity. I believe in me.
"But this is a depressed market."
Thousands of people attended the expo, which highlighted more than 150 companies and gave an opportunity to job applicants from McDonald's to Micromeritics Instruments.
Susan Davidson stood in a long line to get her resume to Gwinnett County Public Schools. Even though the school year has already begun, Davidson recently moved here from Florida and hoped to get back in the classroom.
"I figured with 82 elementary schools, someone is going on maternity leave or someone's husband got transferred," she said. "I'm just hoping that something happens."
Craig Newton with Micromeritics said he his company has six different types of positions available.
"I thought the place would be jam-packed," he said, comparing the event to an Atlanta job fair where people passed out waiting in line.
But chamber officials set up the Gwinnett Center event so people would register and have an appointment throughout the day.
In addition to the companies seeking applicants, Propeller Investments set up a booth at both the job fair and expo to tout the idea some hope will bring more jobs to Gwinnett -- the creation of a commercial hub at Lawrenceville's Briscoe Field. Many of the jobseekers filled out a petition or used a computer to send letters to commissioners.
And a resume specialist was on hand to help.
A year after she was laid off from her job, Lilburn woman Debbie Taylor stopped by the booth to get tips.
"She told me some things I needed to change because this isn't working," she said, adding that she has gotten discouraged sending resumes through the internet when some companies won't reply at all.
"It's hard," she said of the job search. But thanks to the fair, she added "I feel a little more encouraged."