FPTC teams up with regional businesses for employee job fairs

Following Hurricane Michael, many regional businesses in Northwest Florida have closed or scaled down operations, and many people have left the area due to lost homes and jobs, leaving gaps in the availability of qualified employees.

Florida Panhandle Technical College will be the site of several job fairs during the week of March 11-15, in response to a need from the business community for qualified employees and management personnel.

The job fairs are designed to recruit personnel ranging from warehouse management personnel to correctional officers, from RNs, CNAs and LPNs to HVAC production technicians to commissioned retail sales associates, and the effort is designed to put likely candidates into well-paid jobs.

“Many of these positions directly tie to some of our campus programs,” said Martha Compton, director of Florida Panhandle Technical College, “and we strive to successfully help place our program graduates into potentially well-paid positions.”

These job fairs held on the Florida Panhandle Technical College campus are a little different from the traditional events, many of which are simply ‘cattle calls’, with a loud environment in which interested persons cannot actually apply for a position or intimately speak with a decision-maker, but simply collect printed collateral in a frenzied environment.

All of these FPTC-endorsed events feature the ability to submit an application, speak to a person of authority from the respective company, and sometimes even take placement tests, accomplish drug testing and do background checks, all of which helps to streamline the actual hiring process, resulting in some on-the-spot job offers.

The GEO Group from Graceville will be holding a Correctional Officer Job Fair on Friday, March 15, from 9AM until Noon.

Florida Panhandle Technical College has provided corrections and law enforcement programs for many years, along with crossover programs designed to certify a law enforcement officer as a correctional officer and vice-versa, and the GEO Group from Graceville and Panama City have partnered with FPTC several times in this fruitful relationship. Call Florida Panhandle Technical College at 850-638-1180 Ext. 339 for more information.

Family Dollar Distribution Center in Marianna is arguably one of the largest employers in the region, and will be conducting a Management Job Fair on Wednesday, March 13, from 1-3PM on the Florida Panhandle Technical College campus. Job fairs are typically held at the Family Dollar facility in Marianna, and attract hundreds of candidates, but Family Dollar has decided to go off-campus to attract potential management personnel in this effort. Call FPTC at 850-638-1180 Ext. 317 for more information.

Cricket Wireless, which offers simple cell phone service plans, will hold a job fair on Thursday, March 14, from Noon until 3PM. Cricket personnel explain that sales associates receive training for these positions and, although paid a base salary, have the ability to earn up to several hundred dollars per week in commissions, and the company pays weekly, making the position attractive to those with the desire and ability to work in that field.

“We understand that many times the most likely new candidates for a job are already working,” says Martha Compton. “We encourage the businesses participating in these job fairs to “paint outside the lines” by offering application and interviews during typical lunch hours or outside normal business hours, to enable those candidates already gainfully employed to participate in seeking a better job.”

Signature HealthCare of Graceville will hold a job fair, seeking RN’s, CNA’s and LPN’s to fill positions in several facilities in several counties, on Thursday, March 14, from 9AM-1PM, and interested persons may call the College at 850-638-1180 Ext. 317 for more information.

“We partner with Signature Healthcare facilities for our student clinical work,” says FPTC’s Compton, “and the partnership has paid dividends for both parties. Now we are able to help expose not only our students, but also the job-seeking community, to the well-paid jobs available in the healthcare industry through this job fair.”

Trane Corporation, an HVAC production facility in Lynn Haven, is seeking production technicians, and will be participating in a job fair on Wednesday, March 13, from 9AM-1PM. Skills including brazing, forklift operation, assembly and use of hand and power tools are important, and Trane provides well-paid jobs in the industry.

Compton anticipates executing more of these job fairs over time, enabling businesses to showcase their job offerings to the community, especially in these challenging times following Hurricane Michael and the mass exodus of both businesses and people from certain hard-hit areas.

Call Florida Panhandle Technical College at 850-638-1180 Ext. 317 for more information about these or upcoming job fairs, or stop by Student Services at 757 Hoyt Street in Chipley to discuss the over 35 certification and degree programs currently offered at the college.