By Joel Hall
The office of U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) is preparing to host the 13th Congressional District Jobs Fair later this month.
At a time when Clayton County's unemployment rate is reportedly 12.7 percent, participants in this year's fair should be prepared for greater competition for fewer jobs, according to organizers.
From August until the end of last year, the unemployment rate in Clayton County remained steady at about 12.2 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. However, the rate jumped to 12.8 percent in January, and went down to 12.7 percent in February.
According to the Department of Labor's latest reported figures, Clayton County has the highest rate of unemployment in the 10-county metro area, followed by Rockdale with 12.2 percent, Douglas with 11.7 percent, and Fulton with 11 percent.
"Last year, we had about 4,000 people" attend the job fair, according to Scott's Deputy District Director Isaac Dodoo. "This year, we are expecting more than that. We have everything in place to deal with more people. These people should come with a positive attitude, because most employers want people who are positive."
The seventh annual job fair will be held on Friday, April 23, from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Georgia International Convention Center, located at 2000 Convention Center Concourse in College Park.
According to Dodoo, 70 employers had confirmed their participation in the fair, as of Monday, and a few more are expected in the coming weeks. He said the number is down from 150 last year.
"We had to insist that the only criteria for participation [in the job fair] is that you have jobs," Dodoo said. "We didn't want to give anybody a false sense of hope," he said. However, "these are companies that are saying that they are ready to hire workers. They [applicants] have to come prepared to be speaking to their prospective employers."
Employers signed up for this year's 13th Congressional District Jobs Fair include companies from the hotel, airline, telecommunications, insurance, health-care, and information-technology industries. The list includes AirTran Airways, Clark Atlanta University, Clayton County government, Colonial Life, the Columbus Police Department, Doubletree Buckhead, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Gate Gourmet, Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to Scott's office.
Dodoo said employers expected to do the most hiring include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Comcast Cable, AirTran, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Scott said he believes the economy is "bottoming out" and that "people just have to hang in there and keep positive." He said the fact that the job fair has continued is a testament to the commitment of the Southern Crescent to keep its citizens employed.
"If people are working, if the tax base is growing, you've got a great community," Scott said. "It's even more critical now because of the economy, but we had the foresight. What we've got to do is to continue to roll up our sleeves and help people find jobs. We may not have as many [employers] as we want ... what I feel so personally good about is the willingness and cooperation. We know it will be even better next year because the economy is getting better."
On the net:
U.S. Rep. David Scott: www.davidscott.house.gov