Ohio to Work Career Fair

‘Now is the Time,’ Say Columbiana County Businesses

SALEM, Ohio – Tim Hipkins was surprised by what he found as he spent his Wednesday morning seeking out business partnerships and information for his students.

Approximately 25 health care and manufacturing job recruiters set up at the Sustainable Opportunity Development (SOD) Center hiring event. Hipkins, lead welding instructor and developer at Flying High Inc., was one of many attendees who came to speak with businesses in the area.

“I asked just about every table here, ‘How many people are you hiring?’ ” he said. “Nobody said below 10. There are so many opportunities for people if they would just come out and apply.”

Hipkins was looking for partnerships and seeking out what different companies are looking for so that he can better prepare his students.

“If I have somebody with a felony – that made a mistake in their past or had an addiction in their past that they overcame,” Hipkins said, “some of these companies won’t hold that against them, which is amazing.”

As a person who helps connect people of different backgrounds to job opportunities, this is important to him.

Hear more in our 3 Minutes With video HERE.

“And the money out here – they’re paying such good money. The wages are going up. So now is the time to come out here and get a job,” said Hipkins.

Julie Michael Smith, project manager for the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, said the event is part of the Ohio to Work program that seeks to connect residents to businesses with advancement opportunities and good pay.

MVMC is the manager for the Ohio to Work initiative in the Mahoning Valley. The initiative includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

“We’re doing a lot of communication and outreach,” Smith said. “We all have been hearing reports nationally, as well as locally, that companies are seeking employees. We need to have this prepared and robust workforce that is ready to go to work in conjunction with our training partners and development agencies to ensure that we have a great community to continue to reside in.”

Also attending the hiring event were career support professionals. Representatives from Mahoning County Training Association, National Center for Urban Solutions, Goodwill Industries, Columbiana County Education Service Center and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center were all on hand.

“In the [Valley] we have a long legacy,” Smith said. “We are hearing so much about Voltage Valley and what is going on with Ultium and there will be a great spin off from that industry as well. That is opening new technology-related jobs and new opportunities.”

Marissa Stewart, a senior at Southern Local High School, said she chose to come to the career fair to look for both summer jobs and post-college careers.

“It’s really important,” she said. “I heard about this and I was, like, I definitely need to go because I could probably find a lot here.”

Stewart was looking for jobs primarily in nursing and dental hygiene, with plans to attend Youngstown State University after high school. One of the recruiters she spoke with was Lauren DeMarco, organizational development and recruiter for Salem Regional Medical Center.

Demarco said that since the pandemic began she’s seen an increase in interest in careers in health care.

“We have a lot of clinical and nonclinical positions open,” she said. “The most important thing that I am letting students know is to just get your foot in the door…getting your foot in the door gives you access to so many different things.”

DeMarco said while the pandemic increased interest in medical related careers, it also complicated the recruitment process.

“With the last two years, without boots on the ground, it’s been a little bit slow,” she added. “Now that we’re out in the field and we are doing recruiting and getting our names and faces out there as recruiters – I love it.”

Salem Regional Medical Center is hiring for a variety of positions, and DeMarco said she is looking for certain types of candidates. Personality, morale and balance are important to look for when hiring new employees. SRMC offers a variety of benefits and work schedules that allow for a lot of time with family.

Adam Hickey, vice president of Hickey Metal Fabrication, was among the employers at the hiring event. He said his family-owned business is seeking to hire about 25 new employees as the company continues to grow.

“We are willing to invest in the training of people,” Hickey said. “We are just looking for people who want to have a career and want an opportunity with the company to grow. We have been around for 80 years – we’re trying to continue to grow.”

Hickey Metal Fabrication offers health insurance, life insurance, short and long-term disability, vacations, bonuses and a 401K with a company match percentage.

“We are growing – we’ve been growing,” he said. “We have some new projects on the horizon and new plans as well to continue expansion. And we really need people.”

Pictured at top: Lauren Demarco hands Marissa Stewart job information at the career fair.

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