Youthful job seekers met with 43 local employers at Indian Trail High School and Academy on Wednesday in the hopes of landing full- or part-time jobs.
Some job seekers were even looking to launch their careers in apprenticeship positions in the construction trades.
An estimated 300 students, many of whom were seeking jobs for the first time, visited job recruiters from a wide range of industries including food service, health care, food processing, retailers, amusement and recreation organizations, and the four branches of military at Wednesday’s Young Adult Job Fair at the high school.
The Kenosha Unified School District held the annual event in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Kenosha Job Center in order to promote work opportunities for youth.
Andrew Hardcastle, an employee with Gordon Food Service, attended last year’s Young Adult Job Fair. He was hired almost immediately starting as a packer and now has been working at the company — which is currently seeking packers, selectors and warehouse workers — for a year.
Representatives from trade organizations, including the carpenters, electrical, plasterers and the plumbing and steamfitters unions were also on hand looking for people to fill apprenticeship positions.
In the tight job market that has many companies desperately seeking employees, many of the recruiters said they were looking to fill open positions that had been vacant for months. Some were there hoping to get a jump on hiring summer help.
Referring to the current local employment environment with more jobs than there are people to fill them, Cheryl Kothe, career and technical education coordinator with KUSD, said, “It’s a shrinking workforce. People are here with real jobs they want to fill as quickly as they can.”
The EICA Outreach Center, for example, was looking to fill 11 positions before May 3.
A representative for the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha was there to hand out work permit papers for 14- and 15-year-olds.
One employer, Action Territory Family Fun Park, was an early attraction for many of the younger job seekers. Hiring manager Amy Gutknecht said they came with 100 applications and had handed them all out during the first hour.
Froedtert South was there to recruit young people who were interested in a health care career like Catherine Casadont, a 15-year-old LakeView Academy student, who stopped by the hospital’s table to learn more about health care careers.
Some employers took the opportunity to inform the students about their companies, the type of products and services they offer and what types of jobs they have available.
For example, Sarah Heisler, a recruiter with Goodwill Industries, said she had to tell people that her division wasn’t the retail store, but the unit that served meals at the Great Lakes Naval Base.
Another company, Visko Teepak, a Kenosha firm that produces casings for sausages and other types of food products, was telling visitors about their products. An employer of 100, the company is looking to fill two or three positions.
Felix Ramirez, business representative with Local 599 of the Operative Plasters and Cement Masons, was looking for people to enroll into the apprenticeship program.
“We constantly need people,” he said.
James Anderson, a representative with the Regional Council of Carpenters, said they need to replace all of the people who are retiring.
“There is a lot of demand right now,” Anderson said. “We’re trying to build a pipeline.”