SARANAC LAKE – More than 150 job seekers turned out for the fourth annual Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s Tri-Lakes Job Fair on Wednesday, March 6, where more than 50 employers from the region were represented.
Recruiters tabled with job descriptions, company information, and free goodies like Jolly Ranchers, pens and notepads at the Sparks Athletic Complex gym at North Country Community College.
Many employers reported the same concerns as last year – mostly a shortage of qualified people seeking work – echoing concerns reported by the Enterprise.
Dana Wood, right, business manager of the Lake Placid Central School District, is one of many employers waiting for job seekers to to show up Wednesday, March 6, during a slow period of the Tri-Lakes Job Fair, organized by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and hosted in the North Country Community College gym.
(News photo — Jesse Adcock)
“There is a huge labor gap,” Greengloves landscape designer Anna Beattie said. “It’s probably been eight years since there’s been a good candidate pool.”
This is Greengloves’ third year at the fair, and with around 10 people taking applications, Beattie said this is the best year yet – though last year did not result in any new hires. She said they were looking for landscapers and gardeners who would continue showing up for the job.
“It’s very hard to find somebody who is dedicated to their job,” Beattie said. “It’s hard to find good employees.”
Patti Sauvie, case manager with North Country Home Services, said the in-home healthcare provider has had similar problems attracting qualified personnel for the last couple of years at least. Sauvie said compared to last year’s fair, this year had a bigger turnout and more interest – passing out around 10 applications to interested job seekers. Though last year, she said, did not result in any new hires.
Chelsea Tremblay, program manager at Adirondack Arc, said her organization had the same problem.
“For us, it’s really hard to get staff here,” Tremblay said.
Tremblay said more than 15 job seekers expressed interest, and two took applications, and one of the biggest challenges Adirondack Arc faces is educating candidates about the organization. That’s why they attend job fairs, to introduce themselves to job seekers. The Adirondack Arc offers services to those with developmental disabilities.
“We’ve had a pretty good turnout,” said Todd Friebel, director of finance and operations for the Adirondack Experience Museum. “A few people have given me resumes.”
Located in Blue Mountain Lake, Friebel said the museum has a tough time with recruitment. He attributes this both to the labor gap in the North Country, and to the museum’s location, as few are willing to drive an hour or so from the Saranac Lake region to work at the museum.
“Our primary focus today is (that) we add about 50 seasonal positions,” Friebel said. At the day’s end, he said he received four resumes, and a dozen people picked up applications for the various job openings at the museum.
Dillion Fuller, co-founder of Adirondack Techs, differed from many of the other employers present, looking to hire for his new IT services firm. He said he didn’t notice a labor shortage, and has hired through Indeed and Craigslist. But he said that in-person interactions, like those at the fair, helped him find what he was most looking for in a candidate – personality.
Fuller said he’d received two resumes over the course of the day, and is looking to fill three to four positions in customer service-type jobs.
Nick Lansing, HVAC system designer at Hyde Fuel, said there was better turnout at this year’s fair. He said Hyde was looking to fill four positions, and 10 or so people seemed interested. Lansing said finding candidates for the skilled trades – like truck drivers and seasonal technicians – has remained difficult in the last couple years.
“We’re in need of substitutes across the board,” said Dana Wood, school business administrator for the Lake Placid Central School District.
Additionally, he said the school system has 10 openings for teaching positions – quite a bit for this time of year. He said around 10 job seekers expressed interest.
Cherri Robinson, who said she moved here a year-and-a-half ago from Sidney when her husband Alan got a job at LPCSD, came to the job fair looking for full-time employment. She said the area’s many service and hospitality jobs are often part-time, challenging people to piece together two to three different jobs to make a living.
The 10th graders from Saranac Lake High School also stopped by during the fair. Wendy J. House, a state police recruiter, said many were asking good questions about what it takes to be a state trooper.
“A couple asked about benefits, which was really promising, you know, because they’re looking toward their future,” House said.
Heidi Reeves said she and her husband Justin came to the fair looking for part-time and full-time work, respectively. She said the job search for both of them had been tough for a while now – since their vehicle broke down, they’d been unable to travel outside the village for work. Both said they left with fair with job prospects.