Unemployment has been dropping in Tennessee, falling to 6.7 percent in March. But people who remain out of work know just how tough it can be to find a job.
That is where job fairs and career counseling from Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee can help.
The job fairs are happening every week, and hundreds of people have found good jobs in the community.
Jennifer Legezdh is glad to be back to work. It took a few months, but she landed a customer service job with Southwestern Advantage's parent company after attending a Goodwill job fair back in August.
"In 2013, there was more than 5,600 people in Career Solutions who found a job. And 30 percent of those were a direct result of them attending a job fair and being hired by that company," said Goodwill spokeswoman Jamie Berry. "And some of the employers we work with include UPS, Speedway, Xerox."
There's a wide range of openings with everything from entry level to managerial positions at the job fairs, which happen at least five times a week.
Lesa Byrum attended her first job fair Wednesday since losing her job in a downsizing. She's been on the job hunt for a year.
"I had never been to one, so I decided to try and see if that would help me open some doors," Byrum said.
And some of that direction comes through the prep classes and online job searches at the Goodwill Career Solutions center.
Legezdh says the best part was the face-to-face meetings she could only get at those job fairs, rather than just handing out resumes that might not have done her justice.
"I am here with only fast food experience and no bachelor's degree," she said. "And now I have that hope for a career, but a career I can be satisfied with."
Goodwill is hosting another job fair Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. in Nashville with 20 to 30 employers looking for qualified workers.
For more information on job fairs and job training offered through Goodwill, visit: http://www.goodwillcareersolutions.org.
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