Area employers vie for workers at annual job fair

More than 3 dozen seek employees at Shawano County Job Center’s event
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Leader photo by Tim Ryan Dozens of potential employers gather Wednesday at The Gathering in Shawano to woo potential workers visiting the Shawano County Job Center’s annual job fair.

More than three dozen employers ranging from the U.S. Air Force to Culver’s set up shop Wednesday at The Gathering in Shawano for the Shawano County Job Center’s annual job fair, but it seemed to be an open question as to who needed whom more.

According to some potential employers, the current job market seems to favor those looking for a job instead of those doing the hiring.

“I think a lot of people that would need a job have a job,” said Cassandra Reichardt, general manager at Culver’s. “There’s enough employment opportunity that if you want one, you have one.”

Reichardt said, however, that Culver’s is always on the lookout for top-quality employees.

“We’re always looking to hire the next best employee,” she said. “You never settle with what you have.”

Many of the prospective employees at the event were high schoolers bused in from Bowler and Clintonville. One job center staff member said Shawano schools were not bused in because they are on spring break this week.

The Shawano job fair also faced competition Wednesday from another job fair in Oconto.

For many employers, the event was a matter of public relations.

“We’re here to get our name out. To get our name out and let the public know we’re here and that we’re hiring,” said Tracy Winkler, human resources assistant at Northpoint Marine of Gillett.

“We’re always looking for new employees,” she said.

Winkler said the company’s biggest challenge is employee attendance.

“Being punctual, being there and willing to work,” she said.

Some of that might be tied to the number of opportunities currently available in the job marketplace.

“There’s an array of jobs out there,” Winkler said. “They have to pick and choose what fits them.”

Winkler said Northpoint competes for those employees in terms of wages and benefits along with others who are hiring.

“We’re competitive right along with everybody else,” she said.

Jennifer Bishop, human resources assistant at Aarrowcast in Shawano, said a lot of potential employees came through during Wednesday’s event, about two-thirds of them being high schoolers.

“A lot of kids came through that were interested in looking and listening to what I had to say,” she said. “It actually was very beneficial for us.”

Bishop said part of the reason for participating in the job fair was to let people know what the company has to offer and how it benefits the community.

She also said that Aarrowcast doesn’t have a problem finding employees. Similar to Northpoint, retaining workers is the big challenge.

“I don’t care if you work at McDonald’s. I don’t care if you work at the Family Dollar or you work at Aarrowcast,” Bishop said. “It’s getting the people to want to come in and continue to work and continue to better themselves in the position that they’re in.”

She said employees at Aarrowcast can advance into higher posts in all different areas, and that getting the word out about what the company has to offer is a key to hiring and retaining employees.

Bishop noted that Aarrowcast covers many of the expenses that employees would incur, such as uniforms and footwear, and offers a starting wage at more than $14 an hour.

“It’s necessary to be competitive,” she said. “That way we can be up there with everybody else.”

The Shawano County Job Center contracts with Forward Service Corp. to run the annual job fair.

None of those employees were willing to talk on the record, saying they would need to get permission from the corporate office’s communications department.

A listing of employers showed there were 43 participants in Wednesday’s event, some of which included local restaurants and fast food chains, manufacturers and retail outlets.