To help curb local underemployment and unemployment, the Conway Adult Education Center will hold its first job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the center.
"There will be employers looking to hire that day," said Kathryn Rasure, instructor of the center’s Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy program.
Nearly 20 employers had registered to participate by the end of last week, including home health care agencies, retail and service businesses, customer call companies and at least one automobile dealership.
The job fair is open to the public.
"(Job hunters) need to dress like they would for a job interview — business casual at the very least, if not business best," Rasure said. "Dress for success and bring resumes."
The center’s job fair is different from employment events held on college campuses because it caters to people who have a general education diploma or a high school diploma, Rasure said. She said she hopes the job fair will help secure full-time jobs for people forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. A lot of the businesses at the job fair are looking for full-time workers, she said.
"There’s a lot of good jobs that will be available," Rasure said.
A total of 28 companies, organizations,
colleges, military recruiters, state representatives and others will be at the fair. The center will have workshops, including sessions on Internet job hunting and resume building, and information about center programs, free computer training classes and the program Rasure teaches.
The state workforce services department will provide on-site training, spokesman Kimberly Friedman said. "Our goal is to help people find jobs," she said.
Conway’s unemployment is below the reported national average of 8.1 percent and the state average of 7.2 percent, which was reported in April. But Rasure said those figures don’t show that a lot of people are underemployed in Conway. The state reported the Conway area unemployment rate as being seasonally unadjusted at 6.6 percent for March, which is the most recent data available. That’s down from 7 percent unemployment in January, but Friedman said the state doesn’t track underemployment.
Including underemployed workers statewide, Arkansas’ unemployment rate averaged 14.2 percent from the second quarter of 2011 through the first quarter of this year, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, 7.9 million workers were considered part-time workers last month because they couldn’t find a full-time job or their hours were cut.
Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the Conway center’s students are unemployed or underemployed, said Ruth Ann Williams, center director. Although local numbers are unavailable, Friedman confirmed that people are either working jobs for which they are overqualified, working multiple jobs or are laid off.
"The market is tight right now," Friedman said. "We do see a lot of people who are underemployed."