Vocation station: Love INC fair gives job seekers an employment lifeline

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Melinda Stokes of Cabella's talks with Lauren Deckard at the job fair at Park Chapel Christian Church on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — Grant Dickey has been out of work since April. The Greenfield resident left his job to reassess his priorities but is now ready to get “back to the grind,” he said.

He got several opportunities to do just that after visiting a local job fair on Tuesday.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what it leads to down the road,” he said, holding an armful of materials from employers he just met. “I got like five interviews to do this week. It’s kind of exciting.”

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Dickey was just one of the job-seekers who attended the Love INC of Greater Hancock County Job Fair at Park Chapel Christian Church. Participants on both sides of the tables that filled the church’s gym said the annual event provides opportunities to fulfill their employment needs.

Brooke Van Velse, transformational ministry coordinator for Love INC of Greater Hancock County, said 22 employers along with two colleges participated in the organization’s fourth annual job fair. Hailing from manufacturing, retail, care-giving and other fields, the recruiters manned tables filled with swag, literature and clipboards awaiting applicants’ information.

Lloyd Graves is a site manager for the staffing company Randstad in Greenfield. He works mainly with Covance, a pharmaceutical development firm that operates in town. Graves has returned year after year to the Love INC of Greater Hancock County Job Fair. Every hire he’s made from the event has gone on to become a full-time employee, he said.

“I’ve had tremendous luck,” Graves added. “Whether I get one person, whether I get 10, the employees are all stellar.”

The fair also provides networking opportunities among recruiters, he added. When a visitor to his table is not interested in the kind of work he staffs, he can often refer them to another company that aligns more with what they’re looking for. Other companies do the same for him, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s about being in the people business,” Graves said. “Not only is it good for the job-seeker, it’s good for the employer as well.”

The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in the Indianapolis neighborhood of Castleton, attended the job fair for the first time. Manager Emily Golob said she wanted to have a table because she’s a Hancock County resident who’s familiar with Love INC.

“I knew if they were supporting it, that we might get some really great candidates today,” she said.

Golob added she made several strong connections with applicants throughout the fair.

She said when she makes those connections, it’s not all about job descriptions and starting pay.

“I try not to hit right away on the employment side of things,” Golob said. “I like to let people know about the culture and the values of the company that I work for and why it might be a good fit for them as a person, not an employee.”

Sarah Whinery-Smith and her husband, Ken Smith, came out to the fair, too. Whinery-Smith was recently laid off from her job. While it’s given her more time to focus on her business, Joy To The World Baking, she’s looking for a job in her background of information technology.

Although there were no direct information technology opportunities at the job fair, recruiters took copies of her résumé with plans to pass them along to their colleagues in charge of IT.

“I made a few indirect connections,” Whinery-Smith said.

The last part of Love INC’s title doesn’t stand for incorporated, but rather In the Name of Christ. Sandra Box, clearinghouse coordinator for the organization, said the annual job fair aligns with the group’s mission of “transforming people’s lives.”

“We don’t want to help out,” she said, “we want to help up.”