Hundreds of Job Seekers Flock to Portsmouth
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH, hosts job fair on Wednesday and listens to New Hampshire residents anxious to find work.
It didn't take long for U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH, to find someone who asked for his help to find a new job.
As soon as the congressman finished his brief remarks at a job fair he hosted at Great Bay Community College at Pease International Tradeport on Wednesday, he found himself talking with Roberta Day of Bedford.
Day was laid off from her job as product manager at a Manchester software company in June and has been looking for work ever since. Day said Guinta gave her his personal e-mail address and asked her to send him her resume. He also told Day he would try and see what he could do to help her find a new job.
Day was one of hundreds of job seekers who converged on the community college job fair that featured 41 Seacoast area businesses who had some available positions. The event was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and both rooms where it was held were filled to capacity.
"You have an opportunity today to cement your future for tomorrow," said Guinta.
Day said she told Guinta how concerned she is about the fact that she is an older job seeker who hopes she isn't being turned away because of her age. Overall, she was impressed with the congressman's genuine concern and willingness to listen to her and help her. Day still finds it hard to believe she is in the situation.
"Honestly, with all of the experience I have I never thought I would be out of work this long," Day said. "You have to remain upbeat and just don't give up."
Some of the Seacoast area firms that participated in the job fair included FlexEnergy of Portsmouth, Citizens Bank, the Rockingham County Department of Corrections in Brentwood, the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and Clear Channel, the company that owns radio stations WGIR and WHEB.
At the FlexEnergy table, Michele Bedard, an administrative assistant, said they saw as many as 40 people inquire about the seven jobs the company plans to post soon.
"We're getting a large range of people with different backgrounds," she said.
Bedard said she can sympathize with the people who are still looking for work. Before she was hired by FlexEnergy in September, she had been laid off from her previous job in April and was out of work for more than four months.
Great Bay Community College and New Hampshire Community College System officials were very pleased with the turnout they saw on Wednesday morning.
"It's well timed," said Ross Gittell, the chancellor of the New Hampshire Community College System, "because the economy is starting to add jobs at a faster rate than it had the past couple of years."
New Hampshire's unemployment rate of 5.1 percent is still better than the national unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, Gittell said. The challenge is to match job seekers up with the right position based on their skills and what is available, he said.
Diane Chin, Great Bay's vice president of Academic Affairs, said the community college is trying to help people acquire the skills that are in demand by the state's employers so they can have a better chance to secure good-paying jobs.
When asked if she feels optimistic some of the job seekers who attended Great Bay's job fair will secure new employment, Chin replied, "It's hard to say how many people will find jobs."