For Austin Reinhardt, Friday’s first Highland Works bi-annual career fair gave him a taste of the local job market.
“I came hoping to find my first job,” said Reinhardt, 14, of Alhambra.
While Reinhardt was unable to find a job at the fair, which sponsored by the Highland Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the city of Highland, he didn’t go home disappointed.
“At least I was able to meet and network with some of the business officials,” Reinhardt said.
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The Highland Parks and Recreation Department also suggested to him that he might want to pursue a job next summer, helping five younger kids swimming lessons.
On Monday, Lisa Peck, Highland’s economic development and marketing coordinator, said the job fair was “a success.” She said an estimated 100 job seekers attended the first-ever event held at the Weinheimer Community Center.
“I expect next spring’s job fair will be even larger and be even more successful,” Peck said.
On Friday, 18 area businesses participated including, Trouw Nutrition USA, Scheffel Boyle, Carlisle Construction Materials, Personal Preference Services, Legacy Place, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Haag Foods, Highland School District, Highland Parks and Recreation Department, Highland Supply, TheBANK of Edwardsville, Schuette’s Markets, AT&T, Terra Properites, Clean Uniform, Clinton Manor, EvUCC Wee Care Day Care and Hitz Memorial Home.
“This event was definitely a success not only for the career seekers but also for the companies that attended,” said Nancie Zobrist, executive director of the Highland Chamber of Commerce.
All of the businesses have job openings, ranging from substitute teachers being sought by the Highland School District to nurses being sought by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.
A number of other local manufacturing businesses, including Highland Supply (the world’s largest manufacturer of Easter grass) and Trouw Nutrition (which makes food for the livestock industry) are looking to hire production people to work at their local manufacturing plants. Haag Food Service in Breese is looking to hire route drivers, warehouse personnel to load pallets and trucks.
Haag Human Resource Manager Jeff Webb said it’s very challenging today to find a truck driver in today’s ever-changing job market.
“They are in such demand,” he said.
Schuette’s Markets, in the meantime, is looking to fill a number of part-time and full-time positions, including an assistant store manager, bakery and deli clerks, produce manager, vice president of administration, among other jobs.
Schuette expects she will be able to fill their current job openings rather quickly. But the bakery positions tend to take a little longer to fill, since the job starts at 5 a.m.
“It takes a special person to wake up and come to work at 5 in the morning,” Schuette said.
Many companies said that while the quantity of the attendees was not massive the quality of applicants was above par.
“We had a lot of really great resumes today,” Lori Box of Scheffel Boyle said.
A look at the national job market
▪ Employment of RNs is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022 — faster than the average for all other occupations.
▪ Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow by only 6 percent from 2012 to 2022 because of declines in student-to-teacher ratios and increases in enrollment.
▪ Employment of kindergarten and elementary school teachers, however, is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations due to projected increases in enrollment as well as declines in student to teacher ratios.
▪ Employment of bakers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.
▪ Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average of all occupations.
▪ Employment of assemblers and fabricators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics