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Large turnout at Utica career fair

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Over 600 people came out for a career fair in Utica on Tuesday, a number that exceeded expectations for the host company, CentralNewYorkHelpWanted.com.

Nineteen employers set up booths at the Radisson Hotel to meet with potential employees. Job opportunities ranged from logistics, manufacturing, customer service, finances, health care and more.

According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate has dropped in the Utica-Rome area to 7.6 percent from 8.6 percent last June.

Sean Salce, the Regional Account Executive for CentralNewYorkHelpWanted.com believes the career fair proves a positive trend will continue.

"I think there's a positive outlook for this community, for Oneida County, as you see with the turnout at career fairs like this the employers that we approached to join us all have immediate openings. That was important to us when we put this together that we saw employers that did have immediate openings that we need to fill now. And we have the job seeker base to satisfy their needs to fill those jobs," said Salce.

But while that number has dipped, there are still residents dealing with long and frustrating job searches. One woman says she may have to leave the area if something doesn't pan out soon.

"The prospect of staying in central New York are slim to none because it seems like the job market is really tight here," said Tracy Latts, who has been unemployed for a year. "People want to stay here but they really can't if you can't find a job. It's hard to stay and raise a family," said Latts.

So, she was excited to see opportunities in person at the career fair and make face to face contact with employers.

"It's very important because if we don't have these kind of fairs out here then no one will know what's out, especially for college graduates. They won't know what opportunities are out here," said Latts.

Nicholas Ryan is one of those recent college graduates. He's noticed many graduates leave the area, but he's looking to stay.

"It's called brain drain like a lot of people come here then they take what they learn and go somewhere else where they're from. I think if companies look to local college students that would help a lot more keeping people here," said Ryan.

He said career fairs like this are a great way to get graduates to stick around.

"It shows kids and people in local colleges what is here that maybe they haven't noticed and it allows them to see what jobs are available just in their backyard," said Ryan.

Salce said because of the great turnout, the company will likely host another career fair in Utica in the spring.

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