Crowd packs Norcross job fair

NORCROSS — It took just a glance of Esther Dahn’s resume for Michael Jackson to think of a possible opening for the out-of-work Grayson woman.

Jackson, the owner of AIM Staffing, handled a long line of would-be workers during the Georgia Department of Labor’s Seventh Annual CareerFest Expo Thursday, quickly moving from warehouse jobs to customer service based on the resumes handed over to him.

“I can put you to work,” Jackson said over and over again, although the final details of each would have to be handled in the coming days.

“It felt great,” to have the positive reaction, said Dahn, who recently relocated to the area for her husband’s job.

The atmosphere was hopeful at Thursday’s job fair, where hundreds of people circulated at Norcross First United Methodist Church between brief meetings with potential employers, filling out applications, attending special job-seeker sessions and resource booths. The event had special resources for veterans and people over 50, as well as sessions on using social media to find employment.

Leslie Buchanan, the job services coordinator for the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, which co-sponsored the event, said the turnout both of job-seekers and employers was encouraging.

“We’re excited about the turnout,” she said. “We still have a lot of folks out of work, and this is an incredible opportunity for the job-seekers and the emploers to get together and fulfill each other’s needs.”

Karen Dhala has been in the job hunt for about three months. She has a job, but says she is under-employed and looking for a way to move into a more fulfilling career.

“I need to find a job that has a little bit more respect. Sometimes, it’s not just about the money,” she said. “I’m trying to find something better.”

Dhala signed up for more information about the Department of Juvenile Justice after speaking to Lt. Michelle Jenkins.

Jenkins said job fairs often help change the perceptions of people who would normally never consider the job opportunity.

“The majority of our job is mentoring and changing the way kids think,” she said, adding that job-seekers often get excited once they hear more about the organization. “They are ready because the know they are making a difference and changes in kids’ lives. It helps people know what DJJ is all about.”

For another job-seeker, Doris Buchanan, her first job fair was a bit overwhelming.

After retiring in January after a 40-year career, she has decided she wants to return to work to be able to afford a car and put some more money into Social Security.

“You don’t have enough one-on-one time,” she said of the format.