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Sen. Patty Ritchie’s job fair draws hundreds of prospective employees

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OGDENSBURG — More than 250 people turned out for the third annual St. Lawrence County job fair Thursday afternoon to meet with representatives of more than 65 employers.

The event, which was free to attend, was sponsored by state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, who said the fair is a way to take concrete steps to bring jobs to the north country – a primary goal of her time in office. “Jobs has been pretty much my number one priority since taking over as senator,” she said. “I was surprised as I visited employers in the area that were telling me they have a real tough time finding people for their positions.”

Mrs. Ritchie said her job fair is an attempt to rectify the problem by acting as a conduit between employers and potential employees.

“The reason for this was to make it easy to put employers who are looking for employees in the same spot as people who are looking for positions and giving them the opportunity to match up the job skills with the openings,” Mrs. Ritchie said.

This year’s event, hosted at the Odd Fellows Hall, saw an increase in the number of both job seekers and potential employers. “We have more employers here today than we had in the past,” Mrs. Ritchie said. “This year even more than other years there is a really broad spectrum of what jobs are being offered.”

In 2013 there were just over 200 job seekers and 56 employers.

From military positions to private sector companies looking for people with wide-ranging skill sets, the job fair was flush with opportunities for prospective employees.

Stephanie Miller, who was helping operate a booth representing the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, said, “We’ve talked to a lot of people and there is a lot of interest.”

As of 2:30 p.m., with another hour and a half to go, Ms. Miller said they had talked with more than 30 people about openings at the hospital.

Mrs. Ritchie said the event has been personally rewarding. “It’s been very positive.”

Besides running into people on the street who told her they found employment thanks to the job fair, she said a particularly serendipitous encounter took place last year at Claxton-Hepburn.

Mrs. Ritchie said she was checking out of the hospital and, “when I was leaving, [the nurse] said to me, ‘Thank you.’

“I just kind of looked at her; ‘I don’t really know what you’re thanking me for.’ She goes, ‘I got my job at your job fair.’ It was her first day on the job and she was there because of the job fair.”

For people who couldn’t attend Thursday’s event Mrs. Ritchie has an online database of job openings from across the state available on her website.

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