Local job hunters have fair chance of success

In its never-ending quest to find people jobs, WorkSource Whidbey is hosting the island’s biggest Job Fair next week in Oak Harbor.

On Thursday, May 30, from noon to 5 p.m. the Elks Lodge at 155 NE Ernst St. will be transformed into a jobs center. Prospective employees can meet with representatives from about 20 employers, ranging from big private firms like Walmart and Pacific Northwest Bank to the State Patrol, military recruiters and health services providers.

WorkSource has helped produce a spring Job Fair for several years, and it’s growing more popular as time goes by. “Usually several hundred people come,” said Jonette Martin, coordinator. “It’s amazing — it’s a great turnout.”

WorkSource is a federally funded agency given the task of helping people find jobs. It presents several smaller job fairs throughout the year, and daily service from its offices at 31975 SR 20, between Blockbuster Video and Kmart.

The Job Fair brings employers and employees together face-to-face, as compared to the anonymous process of e-mailing or faxing a resume to a company’s offices. “Employers will be there sizing people up,” Martin said. “They’re there because they’re in need of hiring people — it’s not just for show.”

Occasionally, Martin said, “people are hired on the spot,” but that’s the exception. Depending on how busy is is, Job Fair employers can meet and talk with possible employees and get to know them. Then they take their resume and when it’s time to do the hiring, they can connect a face and personality to the resume.

The Job Fair is co-sponsored by the Oak Harbor office of the state Department of Social and Health Services. Carol Parbs has been involved since it started five years ago, and she said a number of welfare recipients have found jobs there through the years. “B.F. Goodrich hired a bunch and have been real happy with them,” she said.

It’s important that people looking for work be prepared for the Job Fair. To make sure that happens, WorkSource is hosting a free Job Fair workshop on Thursday, May 30 from 10 to noon. “We want you wearing proper clothing with resume in hand,” said Martin, describing how people should arrive at Thursday’s Job Fair.

WorkSource can also help you write a resume and otherwise get ready for the Job Fair or any interview situation. It offers faxing, e-mail, local phone calls, and Internet job searching, all at no charge. In 2001 it served 4,874 customers, about double the number helped the prior year.

For more information, stop by the WorkSource office during business hours, call 675-5966, or visit

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