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Chamber job fair brings in crowd of employers, applicants
CorTesha Taylor and Patrice Sanders speak with Leslie and Alexia Chavez at the Coastal Workforce Investment Board booth at the Effingham Chamber of Commerces annual job fair. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Jobseekers eagerly awaited the Effingham Chamber of Commerce’s second annual job fair. So much so they were lined up well before the doors of the Effingham College and Career Academy opened.

“We definitely had crowd waiting for us to get open,” said Chamber executive director Rick Lott. “That was a great indicator.”

There were 25 people waiting for the job fair to begin, and the Chamber had 25 prospective employers on hand. Nearly 90 people signed up for the first hour of the event.

Brad Griffin, Edwards Interiors’ director of sales, marketing and new business, said last year’s initial job fair was a boon for the rapidly-growing company.

“We had a good response,” he said. “It helped out a lot. We were one of the few who were accepting applications and resumes at the time.”

Edwards had 225 resumes and applications filled out last year and hired more than 10 from those.

For those looking for a new job, the event also enabled them to make connections with firms they may not have known were looking to add to the rolls.

“It’s very helpful,” said CorTehsa Taylor. “It’s better to have that one-on-one interaction. There were a lot of businesses we didn’t know were hiring. It’s very hard to find something good.”

Effingham’s unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4 percent in March 2014 to 5.1 percent in March of this year. The state jobless rate is down to 6.3 percent, its lowest level in nearly seven years. But finding a job brought Patrice Sanders of Sylvania, who has been unemployed since December, to Effingham’s job fair.

“It’s hard,” she said.