The face of the economy was front and center Tuesday at Central Lakes College in Brainerd as hundreds of people attended a job fair.
Dave Peterson, 40, Pine River, lost his job about a year ago when Weyerhaeuser closed its Deerwood plant. He worked there 15 years.
In his job hunt, Peterson said he sent out resumes and lined up interviews only to get a call later notifying him the interview was canceled. Hiring was on hold.
"You start thinking you are not really worthy," Peterson said. "You get angry. You get depressed. It is kind of like a death it really is - the range of emotions you go through. You do go through those. You just can't let them get to you."
At the job fair, Peterson, who is now looking into starting his own business, was considering specific study courses to help him on that path.
Darci Goeden (left), Central Lakes College nursing instructor, Pat McCormick, nursing instructor, and Kari Springer, nursing staff lab assistant, talked at their booth Tuesday during the Lakes Area Career Fair and Job Training Expo at the Brainerd college campus. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Jeff Wig, CLC dean of enrollment management, said about 300 people attended the Lakes Area Career Fair and Job Training Expo as of mid-afternoon.
Cindy Brey, Department of Employment and Economic Development business service specialist, was a presenter during break-out sessions. She said most of the people attending her sessions were displaced workers.
Sheri Jordan, 43, Brainerd, a former information technologies liaison, attended the career planning workshop. Jordan said it opened her eyes to more occupations that may be out there for her and the WorkForce Center's programs to help her search. She's been job hunting since September.
"Hopefully with their help I will find something," Jordan said. "I didn't realize there was this kind of help in the community so this is a good thing."
Jordan moved here from Illinois to be closer to family after her company, where she worked for almost 20 years, began moving jobs to another state. She said about 10 people from about 50 remain at her former workplace. Jordan said this is the first time she's been without work for any length of time since she was 19. This was her first job fair.
"The economy is just bad," she said. "You have to keep a good mindset."
The job fair also attracted young people looking for summer work.
Cindy Moore, who works with youths at Lutheran Social Services, talked of clients who were particularly interested in the resorts looking for seasonal workers.
"It's a very big plus for people who are looking," Moore said of the fair. "Talking to people face to face is what it's all about. It gives you a different skill."
Peterson said the recently jobless should take this opportunity to try something they always wanted to do.
"Think about what really interests you," he said, adding they also shouldn't withdraw from others in the process. "Just talking with people will help."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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