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Albany job fair draws big crowd

Lt. Cathy Gervin hands some informational material about the Albany Police Department to Addie Thacker Thursday morning. More than 2,000 people flowed through the doors at the civic center attempting to woo prospective employers and find work.

Lt. Cathy Gervin hands some informational material about the Albany Police Department to Addie Thacker Thursday morning. More than 2,000 people flowed through the doors at the civic center attempting to woo prospective employers and find work.

ALBANY — Area unemployed had an opportunity Thursday to meet with prospective employers at the Albany Civic Center at a job fair sponsored by the city of Albany.

When organizers arrived around 7:30 a.m. to begin setting up their tables and booths, they were met with a line of eager would-be employees that stretched partially around the civic center.

“We’re very pleased with the participation,” Community and Economic Development Director Latoya Cutts said. “We’ll be following up in 30, 60 or 90 days with the employers and the employees to see how many actually got jobs. I think that will be the measure of how successful we are.”

Cutts said the city went through great efforts to ensure that the employers participating in the event weren’t doing it to meet some quota for community involvement, but were actually prepared to offer jobs to the people who participated.

“We wanted to make sure real job opportunities were provided. All of the employers who are here made a commitment that they actually had jobs available and that they wanted to make them available to the people of the city of Albany,” Cutts said.

City officials say one of the primary issues they want to tackle this year is joblessness. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the five-county metro Albany area lost 1,700 jobs from January 2011 to January 2012. New unemployment claims for that same period year-to-year, however, have dropped 13.7 percent from 1,369 in January 2011 to 1,182.

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell, who asked city staff to put the job fair together, said Albany and Southwest Georgia unemployment figures are too high and that a job fair is the easiest way for people to make an impression on prospective employers.

“I really think we will accomplish our goal,” Postell said. “My idea in doing this was to promote the city of Albany and Dougherty County; that we are trying to do something about the unemployment here.”

Representatives from the Albany Police Department, the Georgia Department of Labor and companies such as Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Honeywell, Mediacom and WFXL-TV were on hand to speak with prospective employers.

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