From McJobs to manufacturing, the ninth annual job fair draws crowds

The Davis Event Center at the WNC Agriculture Center in Fletcher was packed with job seekers Jan. 7.

Yes, there are actually jobs in Asheville, and not all of them require you to tell a customer that you stopped serving breakfast at 10:30.

The ninth annual Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Homecoming Job Fair was packed Jan. 7, held at the Davis Event Center at the WNC Agriculture Center in Fletcher. Crowds streamed in, forming a line out the door to get in.

“This many job vacancies at this time of year is a good sign that the economy is rebounding,” said Jonalyn Crite, employment coordinator, human resources, for UNC Asheville.

Crite reported that the university is hiring for administrative assistants, grounds crews, drivers, admissions counselors and faculty positions. To land one of these jobs, she said, starts with picking the one that best suits your skill set.

“Every employer wants the best employee they can find,” she said. “We encourage people to look at the description, and emphasize the skills they have that may match that job. Employers are competing for good applicants in Asheville. Everyone is looking for the best.”

UNC-Asheville is hiring for a wide variety of positions.
UNC-Asheville is hiring for a wide variety of positions.

While the breweries in town had long lines forming for a chance to talk, including New Belgium’s line, which snaked around the entrance, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol had a more subdued presence. Master Trooper Jason Metcalf reported there was still strong interest, though.

“This year, we are about 160 troopers short of where we need to be. Six to seven troopers will be retiring in Western North Carolina alone, and we need to fill these vacancies. We’ve had several good applicants today,” he said.

New Belgium's line was steady all day, snaking around the entrance.
New Belgium’s line was steady all day, snaking out the entrance.

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New Belgium's full time service industry jobs come with benefits, which are an obvious attraction to applicants.
New Belgium’s full time service industry jobs come with benefits, which are an obvious attraction to applicants.
Highland Brewing Company had a substantial line of applicants.
Highland Brewing Company had a substantial line of applicants.

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On the lighter, tastier side, Bojangles and Waffle House made their presence known, hiring all positions.

“This has been one of the best job fairs we’ve been at,” said Jeffery Rigsby, area director for Bojangles, who said there will be six new stores opening this year in western North Carolina. “There’s a lot of great interest here for career minded people, and those who just need a job. We’re hiring all levels up to management.”

Filling out an application at the ninth annual Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Homecoming Job Fair.
Filling out an application at the ninth annual Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Homecoming Job Fair.

 

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About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at pbarcas@gmail.com. Follow me @pbarcas

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