Job Fair Draws Crowd at Devens
By Scott Shurtleff
DEVENS -- More than 200 job seekers marched on Devens this week in search of work and were greeted by nearly 100 employers at the semi-annual job fair at Devens Common.
Sponsored in large part by the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from state Reps. Sheila Harrington and Jennifer Benson, the three-hour event Tuesday brought representatives from nearly 80 local companies in search of employees.
The most popular industries in need of workers are, “hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing,” said Melissa Fetterhoff, CoC president and CEO. “Every year there is a different set of needs in the workforce.”
Although most of the human resource representatives and employers were from local companies or area branches of huge corporations, there were some recruiters from the Massachusetts State Police and the federal Transportation Security Administration.
Also among the 80 tables spread about the grand hall were staffing agents that represent extended networks of even more companies. Many individual tables had lists of specific jobs spelled out including pay and benefits offered, making the experience almost like a marketplace.
“I’ve been unemployed for a few years,” said Mike Sullivan of Littleton. Sullivan, who worked in finance, said, “my job was outsourced a few years ago. So I came here to see what my options are and what’s available.” Sullivan made a point to visit booths in the banking and investment industries, and dropped resumes off,
Melinda McGee, from Gardner, had no written resume to offer but was optimistic after her interactions. “Even without a resume, I still caught some ears and made a few connections. It’s a good way in the door, if I send an email to the person and say I met them at the job fair,” she said, hoping to garner an administrative position.
Benson said she helped organize the very first Nashoba Valley Job Fair, which occurs at the conference center once in the spring along with this fall event. “During the recession of 2008-09 we saw a high numbers of unemployment in the area. We wanted to help improve those numbers and help those who were struggling,” she said. She added that a coalition including Harrington, Nashoba chamber, MassHire, and Gardner Career Center, decided to bring job-seekers and companies together.
“It has been very successful,” said Fetterhoff. “We have companies coming back often and we get follow-up messages from them telling us how satisfied they are with their new employees.”