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Airlines, manufacturers and tourist industry offer jobs

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STANLEY B. MILAM
March 16, 2012
— Nick Hayden was sent to the 21st Annual Walworth County Job Fair with one mission.

“I was told to recruit as many people as possible and make sure they get a job with us,” Hayden said Thursday in the Generac booth at Gateway Technical College.


He is a senior human resources generalist at Generac.


“We are looking for qualified employees,” Hayden said. “We have positions open.”


So much for a sluggish manufacturing sector, at least as far as the company’s generator business is concerned.


“We see market gains as a result of storms,” Hayden said. “The storms cause problems for so many people, and we are able to provide them with power while they dig out.”


Generac, with a facility in Whitewater, also is in the security business.


“We see increased sales in our products to be used as backup power in case of a storm,” Hayden said. “Our generators provide a sense of security for people.”


Hayden said Generac is hiring for manufacturing positions at all three plants in Wisconsin, especially the Whitewater facility.


“We need workers,” he said. “We are hiring for all three shifts at our Whitewater plant.”


Generac is not alone in seeing an upturn in business. The 2012 job fair features more, not fewer, employers looking to hire.


“In the 10 years I’ve been doing this, we see a drop-off in the number of employers when the economy lags,” said Denise Schneider, an administrative assistant at the college and the chairwoman of the job fair committee.


“We have 44 employers with booths at this year’s job fair compared to just 32 last year,” Schneider said. “As a matter of fact, we had to turn away some employers who wanted a booth because we ran out of space due to construction on our campus.”


While the number of employer booths has increased, the job fair this year is a continuation for traditional employers from Walworth County, Schneider said.


“We continue to see manufacturing, tourism and staffing centers holding steady,” Schneider said. “And we have some new employers joining us this year.”


One new employer is Compass Airlines, a regional passenger airline for Delta.


“We need flight attendants,” said Mary Nafeau, who works as a flight attendant for Compass. “We’re looking for men and women who have some customer service experience.”


Compass flight attendant John Suchomel said the airline is looking for people with a personality.


“For example, you can’t be shy and be a flight attendant,” he said. “With few restrictions, the field is wide open, and we’re recruiting for immediate openings.”


A veteran employer participating in the fair is The Abbey Resort in Fontana.


“We are the only full service resort on Geneva Lake,” said Chelsea Polk, the human resources coordinator at The Abbey. “That’s one of the reasons we can offer so many different types of jobs and why we’ve received a lot of interest today, including a ton of resumes.”


The Abbey is offering wait staff positions in its restaurants and spa and support staff openings such as maintenance.


“We are also offering paid intern slots,” Polk said. “We have seasonal positions open, and we are hiring.”


The job fair is a joint effort by Gateway Technical College and the Walworth County Job Center.


“Our goal is to provide an opportunity for employers to recruit and a place where job seekers can learn about opportunities,” Schneider said. “We read the employer and employee evaluations to determine our strengths and areas for further opportunities.”


The job fair cannot address all problems.


“Some things are just beyond our control,” Schneider said. “For example, some health care employers tell us they want more RNs to apply. If there’s a shortage of RNs, that’s beyond our control.


“We hear from job seekers that we don’t have employers looking for graphic artists. Well, there aren’t that many employers in that field in our area, and the ones we have aren’t hiring. Again, something beyond our control.”


But this year, the job fair looks to be a success, Schneider said.


“We have great weather and a full house of employers with immediate job openings,” she said. “For us, that’s success.”



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