Job fair

Area employers Oct. 8 promote their job opportunities at the DeKalb County Community Job Fair. Twenty employers participated in the event hosted by WorkOne at the YMCA of DeKalb County.

AUBURN — Area employers seeking to fill vacant positions promoted their job opportunities Oct. 8 at the DeKalb County Community Job Fair.

The event was hosted by WorkOne at the YMCA of DeKalb County.

About 35-40 job-seekers had showed up 2½ hours into the four-hour event.

Reflecting on the area’s employment picture, Pro-Resources recruitment specialist Jessica Griggs said, “There’s a lot of opportunity, not a lot of people.”

Wade Finicle Jr., talent acquisition coordinator with the Bowen Center, said his organization has “plenty of openings.”

The community mental health center provides services in 28 Indiana counties, including DeKalb, Steuben, Noble and LaGrange. Finicle said Bowen is seeking to hire entry-level case managers, or life coaches.

Josh Ames, recruiting manager for BrightStar Care home care, said his company has an “uncapped amount” of openings for home health aides. The company also is looking for Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and physical therapists, he added.

Ames said there is a “dire need” for home care, and openings are remaining unfilled, perhaps, because of a fear of COVID-19.

“A lot of agencies are seeing these issues,” he said. The hourly pay rate for a home health aide starts at $11 and increases to as much as $18, he added.

At Oct. 8’s job fair, he said, five people had expressed an interest in applying for positions with his agency.

Parkview Health currently has 348 open positions throughout its locations, ranging from cooks and nutrition services to scheduling, nurses and ambulatory positions, said Christopher Burke, talent ambassador for Parkview Health.

Area industries and manufacturers also were hanging out the “help wanted” sign at Oct. 8’s event.

Paragon Steel of rural Butler is looking to fill 12 openings for production staff, offering a pay rate of $14 to $18 an hour, said human resources manager Kris Szobody.

Therma-Tru of Butler has more than 60 openings in second- and third-shift production positions. The company attributed that number to a growth in business. Starting pay is $16.26 to $17.61 per hour, plus a 55-cent premium for second and third shifts. Therma-Tru employees begin receiving benefits on day one. The company also offers a $250 sign-on bonus.

Printing company Messenger in Auburn has 5-7 general worker entry positions, said human resources manager Glen Bontrager. The jobs pay $14.74 per hour and include benefits.

The Family Dollar Distribution Center in Ashley is looking for order fillers and shipping loaders to work first or third shift, said human resources coordinator Lyndsay Miller. First shift pay is $14.50 per hour, and third-shift pays $15.25, she said. During the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are receiving an additional $2 per-hour incentive, she added. Family Dollar also offers a performance-based incentive up to $3 per hour, and major medical benefits are free for associates.

Tonya Gonzales, human resources operations manager for Walmart Distribution Center in Garrett, said the facility has 15-20 openings for order fillers and lift drivers. Starting pay is $17.70 an hour with the opportunity to receive premiums for different job functions for a hourly rate of up to $22.30.

Walmart also offers education benefits, including a partnership with Guild Education where associates can earn their college degrees for only $1 a day, said human resources office manager Peggy Rivera.

Gonzales said a growth in business has led to staffing about 100 more positions than were available at the facility last year.

“It’s a very physical job. One of the biggest downfalls is being a refrigerated building. That’s where we struggle — people belng able to lift all day long and work in a freezer,” she said.

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