Businesses, job seekers connect at area job fair

By Joe VanDeLaarschot - Conley News Service

Aug. 6, 2015

Brad Kosmatka of Cedarburg chews on his pen as he works on filling out paperwork at the Washington and Ozaukee County Job Fair, hosted by the Workforce Development Center at the Washington County Fair Park Wednesday afternoon. Nearly 80 employers were available for job seekers to meet at the fair.
John Ehlke/Conley News Service

TOWN OF POLK - Andrew Breuer and Joe Scholtz are unemployed, but after Wednesday’s job fair at the Washington County Fairgrounds’ Expo Center, they feel they’re close to finding a job.

A total of 144 businesses were represented at the the event, conducted by the Workforce Development Center of Washington and Ozaukee counties.

“That’s (a) record-breaking number,” said agency Director of  Marketing Mike Walczak. “We had 80 at the event last year.”

Representatives of at least one dozen businesses at the fair said they are looking for new workers. In fact, some conducted on-the-spot interviews with job seekers at the Expo Center. Organizers said it  was possible some people may leave the job fair after being hired.

Breuer, of West Bend, said he’s been looking for a job for some time, but heard positive things from some possible employers.

“I made some good connections and I think when I leave here I have a chance at a job at a couple of different places,” Breuer said. “I’m looking for a job more in the manufacturing area.”

Scholtz, of Richfield, also said he feels much better about finding a job soon after attending Wednesday event.

“I have some really solid leads now and a couple of companies told me they are looking to hire very soon,” Scholtz said. “I’m looking for a job in manufacturing, but it’s been hard up to now.”

Mary Spieckerman of Richfield was at the job fair for a different reason.

“I already have a part-time job on the weekends, but I’m looking for something full-time and with better hours during the week,” Spieckerman said.

Despite the slight rise in the state’s unemployment rate in June, WDC  Board President Francisco Sanchez said there are three areas of the economy that are looking hard to fill positions.

“There are companies hiring now in the manufacturing, health care and  technology fields,” Sanchez said. “We’re also working hard to have many of the unemployed receive jobs skills training so they have the traits employers are searching for.”

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue had a booth at the fair, which District Field Audit Supervisor Annette Prinslow said is rare.

“We don’t usually have a presence at job fairs like this,” Prinslow said. “But the department is putting on a big push for hire more field auditors. We need more accountants.”

Sendik’s Food Market Human Resources Group Manager Jenny Perry said the company is always looking for good workers.

“It’s very important for the people we hire to have good customer service skills,” Perry said. “That goes for virtually all our employees because virtually everyone interacts with customers.”

Sponsors of the job fair were, Moraine Park Technical College and Sendik’s.