Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 1:34 PM on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Friday's job fair offers 'something for everyone,' say organizers

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Adam Bauer

Henry Haney of Kenai Peninsula College's Process Technology program speaks with three students from Kachemak-Selo during a previous Homer College, Career and Job Fair. This year's fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Kachemak Bay Campus.

Expecting a crowd of hundreds, as has happened in the past, Homer College, Career and Job Fair sponsors and planning committee members are hard at work putting the finishing touches on Friday's event.

Held at Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, the fair is free and runs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The four-hour program offers adults and high school students opportunities to meet with more than a dozen participating employers, explore requirements for more than 17 college degrees and select from 21 presentations.

"There's a little something for everyone. Everyone is invited," said Kim Frost, KBC's student and enrollment services coordinator and the college's representative on the fair's planning committee.

"There will be employers there, looking to hire. And if you're not looking for a job now, but interested in future employment with, say, the Alaska Department of Corrections or in the marine trades or want to talk to someone from Crowley Maritime Corporation, it's good to come. Bring your resume and dress for an interview and meeting people that are doing the hiring for these companies," she said.

Also on the planning committee is Lisa Croft, employment service manager for the Alaska Department of Labor Job Center in Homer.

Homer College, Career & Job Fair


10 a.m.- p.m. Friday, April 5


Kachemak Bay Campus, 533 E. Pioneer Ave.


The public is invited. There is no charge.

"We've been doing this every other year for at least the last eight years," said Croft. "At one point we did it at the high school and had difficulty getting community participation. By moving to the college, we're definitely getting more people. It's not just for high school students."

Held every other year, previous fairs began at 9 a.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m.

"We found that was difficult for employers," said Croft. "The 10 a.m.-2 p.m. schedule is short, concise and people can come in, get the information they want and leave."

In addition to the central location offered by KBC, completion of Bayview Hall means double the space for this year's fair. That has allowed for even more workshops and presentations than offered in past years.

"We've picked up more employers, too," said Croft, noting that since the fair program was published last week, several employers and resource agencies — including the Alaska Division of Forestry, Copper River Seafoods and MASST (Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training) — have asked to be included.

"Employers want to take every opportunity they have to meet with people," said Croft. "Some have work here, locally. Copper River Seafoods won't have work here, but it's an opportunity to learn about work in other areas. People can look at occupations and businesses and maybe if they want to go someplace else to work, they can talk to an employer about working in another area."

Representatives from several apprenticeship programs also will attend.

"We've tried to cover all the bases," said Croft.

For Andrea Petersen of the city of Homer's personnel office, participating in the fair is a way to inform the public about city employment.

"Right now we are offering a seasonal temporary camp fee collector and a temporary parks maintenance laborer," said Peterson of current openings with the city.

Jessie Cashman, human resource recruiter for South Peninsula Hospital, has represented SPH at the fair for several years. This year, she will be joined by representatives from the hospital's rehabilitation services, nursing and patient accounting.

"I believe it gives us an opportunity to give information about the opportunities we have, career-wise as well as recruitment," said Cashman. "It also puts our jobs out there for individuals looking for an opportunity at South Peninsula Hospital."

Past fairs have opened the door for some direct hires, according to Cashman, but "as you know, living in a small community, networking is really important. Even if we don't hire someone directly from the fair, it's an opportunity for them to know someone at the hospital in a particular field they might become interested in."

Mike Peterson, executive director for Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula, wears two hats in terms of the fair. Peterson is active with the planning committee and also coordinates attendance at the fair of students from Voznesenka, Razdolna, Kachemak-Selo, Port Graham, Nanwalek and Seldovia. To make the most of the fair, the students have researched employability skills and drafted resumes to be reviewed by employers and educators during the fair.

"We designed activities for them to work on like interviewing employers and asking questions of presenters, things to keep them engaged and focused," said Petersen.

For students and adults looking for training, education or information on specific careers, the fair "offers kind of a one-stop shop view of all sorts of things," said Petersen.

Homer High School advisor Lin Hampson also is helping students make the most of the fair.

"Sometimes students have an idea they might want to be an engineer, but they don't really know what engineers do, so this is an opportunity to talk to an engineer and find out," said Hampson. "Some students will just ask questions, not even sure enough of what they want to do. So, there's lots of information and someone different — not me or their teachers, but someone working in the field — telling them about things."

For some, the fair offers an opportunity to experience being on a college campus.

"A couple of years ago, I was walking up the steps with a kid and he said, 'Wow, this is what it feels like to be in college. It's great,'" said Hampson.

With attendance numbering into the hundreds, Croft said some presentations might get crowded. "We're going to try not to turn anyone away, but only so many can fit into some of those presentations," she said.

Even if someone is unable to attend a specific presentation, fair organizers are ready with a back-up plan.

"If someone really wants to get information about degrees and education, but can't make it at the time scheduled, there's an advisor from the education department that will be at the (KBC) table so you can walk up and ask questions and make contact that way as well," said Frost, returning to the most important message she wanted to spread about the fair.

"There is something for everyone. It's not just for high school students. There are great benefits for the entire community."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.