SUNBURY — Although the coronavirus pandemic has created economic uncertainties around the world, many employers in the Central Susquehanna Valley have ample job openings, according to officials from PA CareerLink.
“What we’re seeing, employers are definitely hiring,” Jamie Mercaldo, PA CareerLink site administrator for Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, said. “That is across the board, manufacturers, health care, hospitality, it’s everything.”
While many employers are hiring, Mercaldo said applicants are “few and far between.”
“We had very high unemployment numbers when the quarantine first happened,” she said. “Many of those people are now back to work or expecting to go back to the job they had.”
In other cases, Mercaldo said some individuals may not be opting to return to work as their children are now being educated virtually and need someone at home while they are attending online classes.
With numerous employers accepting applications, PA CareerLink will hold a virtual job fair from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. The fair will focus on manufacturing positions as October is Manufacturing Month.
Thus far, Mercaldo said 14 employers representing 400 open positions have signed up to participate in the fair.
According to a press release on the job fair, the manufacturing industry provides 34,600 jobs throughout the region. The average package of wages and benefits for those positions total more than $65,000 per year.
While PA CareerLink traditionally held large in-person job fairs in the spring and fall, Mercaldo said the pandemic has caused the focus to shift to virtual job fairs.
Those participating in the job fair will have the opportunity to individually speak with prospective employers by logging into Zoom breakout rooms.
“Employers have been very happy with the results of (previous online) job fairs,” Mercaldo said. “They may have only had (a limited number of) people attend, but they’re quality applicants and they are happy with the one-on-one interaction they had with them.”
In addition to offering job fairs, Mercaldo said PA CareerLink offers a variety of other free services for those seeking employment.
“It’s important to prepare ahead of time for a job fair, whether it’s virtual or in person,” she said. “Make sure your resume is updated, be ready to answer basic interview questions.”
PA CareerLink offers a number of virtual workshops to help individuals prepare for such situations. Workshops include Developing a Resume, What Employers Want, Working From Home Best Practices, Stress Management and basic computer skills.
The PA CareerLink website, www.pacareerlink.pa.gov, has a listing of available positions. In addition, CareerLink offices are open by appointment for job seekers to use computers as part of their search.
For more information on participating in the virtual job fair, or on registering for workshops offered by PA CareerLink, visit the organization’s website.
Mercaldo noted that each state is required to have a service, such as PA CareerLink. Funding for the service passed down from the federal government to state and local governments.