LAURINBURG — Amy Perkins is looking for work, but the Laurel Hill resident said opportunities in Scotland County seem few.
With unemployment at 10.2 percent for September — the highest in the state — Perkins said things are “pretty bad around here.”
“I am interested in finding employment — I have a background in accounting, but I’m looking for any job right now,” Perkins said.
Organizers of career fair hoped to connect Perkins and a lot of others with businesses looking for workers. The event was held Thursday at the National Guard Armory. It was preceded by a Veterans Stand Down event organized to facilitate services for area veterans.
“We can help some people with going back to school to get new skills and market themselves,” said Denise McKoy with North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. “It prepares them to be productive once again and use their skills to earn a living.”
The job fair drew about 300 visitors and 60 businesses and vendors. It was sponsored by NCWorks Career Center of Scotland County, who work as a resource for job seekers and employers in North Carolina.
“It brings the community and the employers together in one setting so they can actually have a short interview with the employers and they can get a feel for each other,” said NCWorks Office Manager Regina Smalls. “That’s the positive thing about it, is they can get the exposure to each other, especially in Scotland County since we have the highest unemployment rate in the state of North Carolina.”
Vendors and companies handed out business cards, brochures and applications to assist community members in finding a job.
“I am excited about the job fair and it’s actually great because that way you don’t have to go to each individual place to apply or see if they’re hiring, everything is right here,” Perkins said.
The event was organized to help both vets and non-veterans.
“I am assisting with the barbering for veterans and this event gives veterans the opportunity to refresh themselves with our barbers and an opportunity to find jobs,” said Walter Rogers, chairman of the North Carolina Black Leadership Caucus. “There are a lot of work force entities out here today that are looking for good people, everybody is looking for good employers.”
Rogers mentioned attending the previous Stand Down and Career Fair event a year ago in Hoke County.
“Last year we had a great crowd, but I think we had an even greater crowd today,” he said. “It’s really a great thing and I think it motivates people, you need more things in Scotland County that encourage and motivate people.”
One of the goals of both events was to encouraged people to get back on their feet.
“I thought it was a beautiful thing to see how happy and satisfied the veterans looked after Stand Down,” said Deonna Carter with Debbie’s Staffing Service. “A lot of the veterans weren’t looking for work, but I saw a lot of them helping other people find jobs and I thought that was amazing.”
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.