McDowell County hiring and resource fair connects jobs and potential employees

There were around 46 businesses and organizations participating in the event.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:04 PM EDT
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WELCH, W.Va. (WVVA) -McDowell County is no stranger to unemployment. Right now, the county has a more than six and a half unemployed rate according to the federal reserve economic data. That’s around three percent more than the national average. Alan Felts, the president of the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce says COVID made things worse.

“Well, right now, especially once covid was over and a lot of the benefits began to end... With food stamps and things of that nature, people had to get a job in order to maintain those benefits...” says Felts.

However, the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce and WorkForce West Virginia are hoping to make a difference by joining together to create a hiring and resource fair.

“...So, in an atmosphere like this, their kids can come play on the bounce house, get a bite to eat, they can come in, find the resources, and find the employment that they need to continue with their benefits or to move on beyond those benefits,” says Felts.

Felts says this is their first time hosting a hiring event on this scale. There were around 46 businesses and organizations participating.

“It’s went really good. We’ve had about 180 people come through the doors. Chick-fil-A sold out one round, had to send more food down for us,” says Felts.

We spoke with one vendor set up here to share an important message: avoid the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes. She says this event is a great way to help retain workers in McDowell county.

“I think so often, if you live in a small community, you’re under the impression that you need to leave your community to find resources or to find work. But often times, if you take a look around right where you live and go every single day that you can find an opportunity to suit you,” says Stephanie Lusk, public health educator for McDowell County Commission on Aging.

Lusk says it was promising seeing the amount of young people at the fair who care about their future. She recommends anyone looking for a job to come to the fair the next time it’s held.

Felts says they hope to hold this hiring and resource fair again, several times a year. He says you find out more about when and where those events will be by going to the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or to his personal Facebook page.