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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Spirits high at Nashua job fair

By DEREK EDRY
Staff Writer

NASHUA - Spirits were high at the eighth annual Employment Connect job fair Wednesday at St. Patrick Church, where employers, job-seekers and volunteers joined forces to create an incubator for success.

"I think it's very important for people who are looking for a job to speak to people who can hire them, to interact and have that experience," said Tom Lopez, Ward 4 alderman and education and employment advocate for the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, who is a major force behind the event. ...

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NASHUA - Spirits were high at the eighth annual Employment Connect job fair Wednesday at St. Patrick Church, where employers, job-seekers and volunteers joined forces to create an incubator for success.

"I think it's very important for people who are looking for a job to speak to people who can hire them, to interact and have that experience," said Tom Lopez, Ward 4 alderman and education and employment advocate for the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, who is a major force behind the event.

The fair is hosted by the Greater Nashua Continuum of Care, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, and Great American Downtown.

UPS recruiter Susan Soucy was one of the employers at the event. She said UPS is hiring more than 250 employees, including part-time package handlers, loader/unloaders, and seasonal package car drivers.

Nancy Trask, who works in human resources for the city of Nashua, said the city is hiring for a variety of openings, including clerical, paraprofessional and skilled technician positions.

"There is a wide range of opportunities for people with different skills," Trask said.

Among those who made the event happen were the St. Patrick Church council of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization.

"We want to create an atmosphere where those who are looking for work can connect and engage with employers," said Grand Knight Don Pare.

But the Knights of Columbus was just one group of many that chipped in.

In one room, Greater Nashua Mental Health helped job-seekers craft and refine resumes and practice interview skills. In another, hair stylist Debbie Dol-bec from 36 Allds Salon, offered free haircuts and hairstyling.

"It makes people feel better about themselves when they get a nice haircut," Dolbec said. "And I don't want people to feel hopeless. I want people to feel like they can go out and go get a job."

Jessica Williams, a job-seeker from Nashua, was one of many to receive a new outfit, haircut and makeover. Williams wore a big smile on her face.

"I'm going to get an apartment tomorrow, and the requirement is that I have a job," she said.

Williams said two employers had already called her back.

New this year was Suit Yourself, a professional interview clothing collection program with 13 drop-off spots throughout the city. Triangle Credit Union, Dress 2 Impress and other local businesses also donated clothing.

Williams said she found a dress, blazer, and a pair of dress shoes.

"It's much higher-quality stuff than we had in the past, and a much greater variety of sizes... so we're really pleased with how it worked out," Lopez said.

And attendees didn't leave hungry. Fratellos donated salad and cannoli, Portland Pie Co. donated 10 pizzas, and Shaw's donated four cases of water.

Overall, this year's event was a great success, Lopez said.

Lopez said more than three times the amount of employers and significantly more job-seekers came out than in previous years.

He said he hopes to continue and keep expanding the event.

Derek Edry can be reached at (603) 594-6589, dedry@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_Derek.