By Elizabeth Cook
SALISBURY — What a difference five years can make. Just ask Debbie Davis, leader of the local NCWorks Career Center.
“The unemployment rate in Rowan County is less than half what it was five years ago,” Davis says.
The local jobless rate fell from 10.2 percent in September 2012 to 4.1 percent in September 2017, she says.
For those still looking for a job, a big opportunity is coming up this week.
Nearly 50 employers will be on hand Wednesday for a job fair at First Ministry Center, 220 N. Fulton St. Included are Gildan, Hitachi, Johnson Concrete, FedEx and the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center.
The Veteran’s Appreciation and Community Job Fair will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Military veterans can go early to enter the job fair first at 10 a.m.
At 9 a.m. at the same location, there will be an employer panel moderated by David Whisenant. Participating employers will provide information about their companies and will answer questions.
Earlier in the week, free employment information sessions can help job seekers prepare for the job fair. The sessions will be held 2 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, both at the NCWorks Career Center-Rowan, 1904 S. Main St. The sessions will be presented by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s R3 program and JobsforLife. Attendees will receive an “Early Pass” to enter the Job Fair before the doors open to the public
Hiring is on the upswing, according to Davis. NCWorks-Rowan has 170 open positions listed on its website — www.NCWorks.gov.
Many of those employers will be on site Wednesday.
“There will be employers hiring for positions of all levels, including housekeeping aide at the W.G. ‘Bill’ Hefner VA Medical Center, solar panel installers, drivers and patient care,” Davis says.
Tips for people attending the job fair, Davis says, are:
• Come prepared to share skills and work experiences with employers.
• Bring resumés.
• Dress appropriately.
Employers looking for prospective employees at the job fair include Aerotek, Bayada, Carolina Stalite/Johnson Concrete, Catawba College, city of Concord, Concord Police Department, Corning, town of Davidson, Davita, Decision Path, Faithful Nurses, FedEx, FHI Freight Handlers, First Choice Personnel, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department, Frito Lay.
Also, Gildan, HCS Renewable Energy, Hire Dynamics, Hitachi, Jobs for Life, Kannapolis City Schools, Kannapolis Police, city of Kannapolis, N.C. Department of Public Safety, N.C. National Guard, N.C. Vocational Rehabilitation, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, NCWorks, NextGen, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, RW Bost, city of Salisbury, Schult Homes/Clayton Manufactured Homes, Smith Excavating, Staffmasters and U.S. Marine Corps.
Beyond next week, Davis encourages job seekers to take advantage of local opportunities to improve their skills through programs such as:
• The Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (get information at NCWorks Rowan)
• Better Jobs for Better Lives Rowan at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
• The N.C. Manufacturing Institute at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Hosting the job fair are the Centralina Workforce Development Board, NCWorks Career Center-Rowan, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Rowan Chamber, City of Salisbury, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, and a host of other agencies.