Carmen Fleming, of Livermore, perused employers' booths Monday at the Mid-Iowa Career Fair.
The mother of two said she was hoping to find a full-time job now that her children will be starting kindergarten and preschool classes.
"I'm looking to get back in the job market," Fleming said.
-Messenger photo by Lindsey Mutchler
Emer Fortune, of Fort Dodge, talks with Blair Thompson, a CNA at Bethany Life Communities, about possible job opportunities at the 2011 Mid-Iowa Career Fair Monday morning at Iowa Central Community College’s Hodges Fieldhouse.
She was one of more than 300 prospective employees that attended the job fair held at Iowa Central Community College. Around 40 exhibitors set up booths in Hodges Fieldhouse and chatted with potential employees.
Fleming said she enjoyed the setup.
"It's nice to have everyone in one location," she said. "You can talk to 15 different businesses in an hour rather than in one weekend."
While Fleming voluntarily left the job market for a while, others at the job fair never thought they'd attend one.
Cindy Dencklau, 54, of Badger, is one of many area residents whose employment with Electrolux in Webster City will be ending Thursday.
"I worked there for 16 1/2 years," Dencklau said. "The job fair is all new to me. I thought I'd retire there."
Dencklau said she's looking for work as an administrative assistant or in bookkeeping.
Until then, she's working two jobs to match what she was making at Electrolux.
"Some are hiring, some aren't," Dencklau said of the career fair. "There's a lot of information here though."
Among the vendors was an Iowa Workforce Development booth, which Dencklau said she planned to use.
"I'm going to have them look over my resume," she said.
Don Wolf, 53, of Bancroft, was another attendee who found himself in Dencklau's shoes in 2008. Wolf said he lost his job with Winnebago Industries.
"I'm trying to get an education to bring something to the table," Wolf said. He is a student at Iowa Central studying automotive technology.
He said he spent quite a bit of time talking with Peterbilt of Sioux City, but the experience was all very new.
"This is the first time I've been to something like this," Wolf said. "I've always had a job."
It wasn't only older generations looking for employment, 20-somethings were out to make an impression as well.
Jarod Gordon, 26, of Webster City, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2009. He was dressed in a suit and tie and said he was looking for a job in computer-aided drafting.
"I've been looking for a year," Gordon said.
Of all the employers represented, health care generated the largest number.
Emer Fortune, of Fort Dodge, is currently studying physical therapy at Iowa Central and spoke with Blair Thompson, a CNA, at Bethany Life Communities.
"I used to work in an outpatient clinic, and I enjoyed it," Fortune said. "I need to go into health care because there's more of an opportunity for growth."
Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org