Make us your home page

Hernando County Career Fair holds out hope to job seekers

BROOKSVILLE — In a county where the unemployment rate has stood well above 13 percent for more than three years, a job fair is going to draw a crowd.

The Hernando County Career Fair did just that.

More than 350 job seekers and 44 businesses turned out Tuesday at the Elks Lodge on Cortez Boulevard looking for opportunity.

Some, like Terri Whidden, 41, of Spring Hill, said it was a chance to see what kind of work is out there. Laid off from her position as a customer service representative nearly two years ago, she took a part-time position at a senior care facility in Hudson earlier this year.

"I'm not unhappy where I am, but I would like to find something full time," Whidden said. "I figured that this was a good place to check things out."

Career Central business service manager Steve Wilson said that the strong turnout of employers was a signal that the job picture in Hernando is improving. Career fairs like the one his agency co-sponsors twice a year are a good way to introduce those looking for work to potential employers, he said.

"We had a good mix of employers who are enthusiastic about hiring," Wilson said, "so if someone is willing to come out, it's an excellent way to get a foot in the door."

Job seekers had plenty of opportunities to look over, depending on their work skills and experience. Representatives from several staffing companies had ready-to-fill positions for everything from general labor to specialized skills such as medical billing and office staffing.

"I could fill 10 jobs right now if the right people came along," said Teri Nichols of Spherion Nature Coast, a staffing service that serves clients in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus counties.

For John Patrick, 36, the event was especially enlightening in that he discovered NAS Dynamics, an airport safety equipment manufacturer at the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park that builds the kind of equipment he was trained to operate in the Navy.

Patrick, who has been taking online college courses, spent several minutes talking with general manager Steve Voras, and left a copy of his resume.

"It think it would be a great opportunity," Patrick said. "It's right up my alley."

Despite the brightening job horizon, Wilson said that Hernando County's workforce still has a big weakness: a lack of individuals skilled in technical fields such as engineering.

"We're still lagging when it comes to specialized training programs and schools," he said. "As more and more high-tech companies move into the area, that's a need that's going to have be addressed.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

Hernando County Career Fair holds out hope to job seekers 11/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Google tracking real-world sales as well as online ads


    SAN FRANCISCO — Google already monitors your online shopping — but now it's also keeping an eye on what you're buying in real-world stores as part of its latest effort to sell more digital advertising.

     Google already monitors your online shopping - but now it's also keeping an eye on what you're buying in real-world stores as part of its latest effort to sell more digital advertising. 
[Associated Press]

  2. Labor Department green-lights retirement savings rule

    Personal Finance

    WASHINGTON — A Labor Department rule that would set higher standards for the advice brokers give to retirement savers will go into effect June 9 without further delay, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Monday.

  3. Report: CEOs got biggest raise since 2013 with Charter Communications CEO on top


    NEW YORK — The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That's the biggest raise in three years.

    Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge -- whose company took over Bright House Networks last year -- was the highest paid CEO in 2016, according to a study carried out by executive compensation data firm Equilar and The Associated Press. 
[Associated Press file photo]
  4. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  5. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.