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JobFest connects workers, companies
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A man stops at a company table, Thursday at the Great Bend JobFest. Many companies are currently seeking for dependable employees. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The 11th-annual Central Kansas JobFest brought a crowd to the Great Bend Events Center on Thursday, as businesses announced job openings and prospective employees gathered information, dropped off resumes or filled out applications.
“I could reasonably hire eight to 10 people right now — get them working tomorrow,” said Dean Nuss with Venture Corps, one of many area businesses with an information table at the JobFest. Filling positions has been a challenge this year, he said.
Among the job seekers, Victoria Zelenka from Great Bend pushed a stroller carrying her two daughters. “I’m trying to find something I can do at home,” she said.

Some employers are even willing to train the right person. Ryan DeBerry at IBEW said his company in Hutchinson has openings for journeyman electricians. “We also start at square one with people and offer them apprenticeship opportunities,” he said. “Our contractors are calling in daily, looking for help.”
Melanie Ryan at Sunrise Staffing Services LLC said her Great Bend company is hiring people to do MIG welding, fabrication, production assembly, sales and several other kinds of work. “We help people find jobs,” she said.

The regional job fair typically promotes open positions in central Kansas to a few hundred job seekers. It is a collaborative project planned by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, Barton Community College, KansasWorks and several employers. The Great Bend Tribune is one of many sponsors.
KansasWorks brought its Mobile Workforce Center, where people could get help writing a resume or make copies of resumes they brought with them.
The Community Service Organization at Barton Community College was in charge of the Career Closet, a room filled with donated professional attire that people could wear to job interviews. Barton students Devon Nelson and Nathan Johnson directed people to the clothes closet, where everything was free.
“We are encouraging people to dress for success,” Nelson said.
Johnson recommended men choose long-sleeve dress shirts, slacks, a tie and comfortable shoes, and to show up with a “good haircut.”

Heidi Brittain and Karen Neuforth greeted people as they arrived at JobFest and helped them get signed up for a drawing for a laptop computer. Neuforth noted that this was the third year for JobFest to be held at the Events Center. The festival started in Jack Kilby Square more than a decade ago, then moved to the Angus Inn Courtyard for weather reasons. The event has continued to expand, and moved to the Events Center after it outgrew the courtyard.