By Curt Yeomans
Clayton State University students had an opportunity on Tuesday to find out what kind of part-time work is available in the area, during a part-time job fair hosted by the school's Office of Career Services.
Although the Georgia Department of Labor reported in July that the state has an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, employers and school officials were telling students who came to the fair, in the James M. Baker University Center, there is still part-time work to be found.
Angelyn Hayes, the director of Clayton State's Office of Career Services, said students have to be prepared for a competitive part-time job market as they are now having to compete against others who are seeking work after losing their full-time employment.
"It seems like the economy has not hit part-time jobs as much as it has full-time jobs," Hayes said. "There are [part-time] jobs available. It's just way more competitive right now. People must use their networking skills to get ahead."
Students who attended the job fair had 16 employers and university departments to choose from. Companies at the job fair included BB&T bank, FedEx Ground, FedEx SmartPost, Primerica Financial Services, Radio Disney AM590, SouthSide Roofing, United Parcel Service (UPS), and Walmart.
Several departments at Clayton State also participated, including the school's bookstore, fitness center, Center for Academic Success, Office of Public Safety, Office of Orientation and New Student Programs, and Work-Study Jobs.
Representatives from the visiting companies said they had a wide array of reasons to recruit Clayton State students for part-time employment.
"Our company is expanding and we're looking for people to fill part-time positions," said Mitch Johnson, a financial-services representative from Primerica Financial Services in McDonough. "The financial-services industry needs new blood, and where better to find it than on a college campus."
Johnson said he expected to end up hiring as many as three or four students to become financial-services representatives, based on past experiences.
Mia Caruth, an assistant manager from the Walmart store in Morrow, told students she had seven positions available in jobs such as cashiers, stock room workers, and apparel- and electronics-sales associates.
"One thing about Walmart is, we're very community oriented," Caruth said. "Everything that is around us, we want to be involved in, whether it's the university, the local schools, youth groups or churches."
After three hours of talking to students at the job fair, Caruth, and Walmart Greeter Reba Miles, had filled more than seven pages, between two legal note pads, with names and telephone numbers of potential workers. Caruth said she will seek out the best applicants for the jobs she has available. She said she would forward names to the Walmart store in Ellenwood.
Students offered varying reasons for seeking part-time employment.
Jordan Ali, 18, a psychology major from Stockbridge, said he was hoping the fair would bring an end to his search for part-time work.
"I've been looking for a part-time job for almost a year," he said. "I've applied to grocery stores, retail and fast food places ... I think it's the economy, plus everybody is looking for a job right now, especially in our age group."
Linaka Almeida, 18, a sophomore biology major from McDonough, said she wanted to develop her job skills before she graduates from college. "I'm looking for anything that will help me, by making me more involved and experienced, so I can get a better job in the future," she said.
Nafisah Cabbell, 20, a junior communications major from College Park, said she wanted some extra spending money. She said Walmart was her first choice because it is close to the university, but she browsed the job fair to see what other jobs were available.
"I think it's a good thing that they held this fair to let us know about part-time job opportunities because we don't have time to work full-time jobs as students," Cabbell said.