9/16/2016 – Strong turnout reported for 13th Caldwell is Hiring

Posted on: September 16th, 2016 by admin


September 16, 2016


The scratching of pens could be heard as rows of people hunched over on any flat space they could find at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center worked to hurriedly fill out a handful of applications, finishing one and beginning another.


Nearly 450 people filled the civic center for the twice-a-year Caldwell is Hiring event, organized by the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission in conjunction with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute along with NCWorks, in hopes of finding a job or starting a career.


As people bustled around the room to speak with applicants, the veterans of the event could often be picked out among the nervous first-timers.


Malissa Hooper, 23, of Lenoir was one such first-timer. Pushing around a stroller holding her 3-year-old son, Corbin, she slowly made her way around the room, stopping at almost every single employer’s table. Hooper has been unemployed since June and came hoping to find more stable work than the past job she has held at gas stations and fast food restaurants.


“I’m trying to get my foot in the door somewhere,” Hooper said, adding that in the past she has worked at places where it was convenient to find a job, but now she wants something more. She dropped out of Hibriten High School one month before graduation, a choice she said she made up for by earning her adult education diploma from CCC&TI in 2014.


“I also want a chance to find my own place and get my own things, especially for him,” Hooper said, nodding to her son, who will be starting school next year.


“I was really excited and kind of hoping I would get something out of it (the event),” she said of her feeling going into it. “I hope this is a new beginning.”


Another attendee hoping for a new start was Teresa Harrison, 56, of Hickory. She has a job in Conover but wants to find a job in Lenoir and move back. This year was her third time attending the event.


Ambition was not something Harrison was lacking: She woke at 4 a.m.


“I wanted to get here early enough so I was the first one in the door,” Harrison said, and she arrived at 6 a.m., two and half hours before the doors opened.


Harrison said the event seemed well organized and a great way to find a job.


“I’m just grateful they have this, very grateful,” she said.


As far as those going into hiring events, she advised to get there early, take time to talk to employers, and don’t apply for a job unless you know it’s something you want.


Unlike Harrison, Jonathan Pope, 30, had never been to the hiring event and was a little nervous.


“I’m having trouble finding something right now,” Pope said. “Being unemployed and stuff, I feel like I need to perform to stay afloat.”


Even if he doesn’t find a job from the experience, Pope said he would still be thankful for the opportunity to connect and network with potential employers.


Brandy Dunlap, the director of job services at CCC&TI, said there is usually a pretty event split among attendees between those who are employed an those who aren’t.


“We had a real nice steady flow,” said Dunlap, who is also the center manager for Caldwell County’s office of NCWorks, a state agency that tries to help job-seekers and employers. “The employers upstairs seem to be really pleased with the applicants.”


The next Caldwell is Hiring will take place in the spring.


By Brian Adhikusuma, (Lenoir) News-Topic





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