Published March 26, 2009
CARTERSVILLE — Unemployed people of all ages and demographics attended the first-ever Bartow Together: Re-Employment Resources Expo March 17 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Cartersville First Baptist Church.
By 3:30 p.m., expo planners estimated that about 400 people had attended the expo. The expo was created and promoted as a resource fair and not a job fair. More than 35 organizations had displays, such as Salvation Army, Tallatoona CAP, North Metro Technical College, and Red Cross. During the day, 13 seminars were held at multiple times on topics like networking, resumes, Internet resources, and career trends.
Doug Belisle, adult ministry pastor at First Baptist Church, said he and church members came up with the event because they wanted to reach out to the community.
“We brainstormed ... different ways to really serve the community and with the economy being the way that it was,” Belisle said. “We said, ‘We ought to do something for those that are unemployed,’ and we got together with the Chamber [of Commerce] and with the Department of Labor ... and it has been awesome.”
Cartersville’s Michelle Morris, an orthodontic assistant who has been laid off since October, visited representatives of Georgia Highlands College. She said her job search has been difficult as more people are competing for less jobs.
“I thought the best bet for me would probably be to try to just go back to school until the economy gets better,” she said.
Rome resident Judy Dove arrived at the expo at 10:30 a.m. and attended several seminars, saying the event was positive and informative.
“Everyone was very helpful and I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said. “It was well put together.”
Dove, who worked in Rome and was laid off in January, heard about the expo on the radio and said she is looking for administrative support work.
“I got some good tips, some positive reinforcement you need when your out looking for a job,” she said.
Around 60 to 80 First Baptist church members volunteered at the expo, Belisle said.
“We’ve had some positive feedback,” he said. “We’re just grateful to be able to provide some way to help out.”
In addition, The Bridge, a United Methodist Church, donated food and drinks throughout the day.
One display at the expo was on behalf of the Bartow Baptist Association, to give out brochures about local church networking groups and other church resources.
“They say statistically people that can meet [through networks] have a better opportunity trying to find work then trying to do it on their own,” said Ann Tatum of the BBA.
Cartersville Medical Center Marketing Director Jennifer Wiggins displayed information at the event to recruit volunteers. The hospital accepts volunteers of all ages, both male and female. Wiggins believes volunteering can help people who are unemployed.
“You’ll get the joy out of giving to somebody else and it will take your mind off of your own misery,” she said.
Maia Fox is a staff writer with The Cartersville Daily Tribune.
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