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Opportunities await

Library, chamber sponsor job fair

POSTED: March 18, 2009 4:00 a.m.
Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton/

Kathryn Schultz of Lumpkin County talks to Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, about a possible position during a job fair Monday afternoon at the Dawson County Library.

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New to Georgia, Kathryn Schultz is looking to re-enter the work force full time.

  

The recent retiree and Lumpkin County resident, who is pursuing her teacher certification, was one of many people who attended a job fair Monday at the Dawson County Library.

  

"Teaching is what I want to do, but I came here today to explore my options and see what else is available," she said.

  

The fair, which was sponsored by the library and Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, featured about seven employers, including Home Depot and the Kangaroo Conservation Center.

  

"We are here to get a feel for the skills that people have and then looking at what we could offer them," said Jeremy Maneyapanda, the kangaroo center's facility manager.

  

Maneyapanda said that various capabilities such as tractor or grounds keeping skills would be good avenues for those looking to get on at the center.

  

Karen Jones, a Dawson County resident, has banking and office experience.

  

"Finding employment has been a challenge, especially in the banking industry with how hard it's been hit by the economy," she said.

  

The job fair was timely, particularly given the county's unemployment rate for February was about 8 percent.

  

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment claims have risen 131 percent in Dawson County since this time last year.

  

In February 2008, there were 82 claims, which more than doubled to 190 claims last month.

  

Stacey Leonhardt, branch manager at the library, believes the job fair offered a bright spot in the dark economic times.

  

Leonhardt said that many people visit the library daily, looking online for employment.

  

Due to the increase in job searches, Leonhardt said the library decided to bring available jobs in the area to residents.

  

E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at elizabeth@dawsonnews.com.

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