There hasn’t been enough work because new construction has dropped off, said Engeldinger, an electrician with Local 540 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Thursday morning she waited patiently for a chance to show her résumé to folks with Chesapeake Energy. She has a degree in electronics. She has field experience. She hopes one of the early players in Ohio’s oil boom can give her a job.
More than 1,200 people looking for an opportunity lined up Thursday morning inside and outside University Center at Kent State University Stark Campus for a job fair organized by Chesapeake and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
The first applicant showed up at 4:30 a.m. for an event set to begin at 9 a.m. Chesapeake and four of its subsidiaries sought candidates for one of 10 different job descriptions. The company expects to fill more than 100 jobs from the applications received Thursday.
Brown arrived soon after the doors opened and talked with job applicants as they waited. The crowd surprised him, but he liked seeing that so many people came. “They all are looking for more opportunity,” he said.
Techniques to extract oil and natural gas from shale rock has brought Chesapeake and other companies to Ohio. The companies are looking for workers. It was the third Chesapeake job fair since fall and drew the largest crowd, so far.
Brown and Chesapeake announced plans in December for job fairs to help veterans find jobs in the natural gas industry. Thursday’s event was open to all.
Some applicants dressed to impress in sport coats, dress shirts and ties. Others dressed as if ready to work the oil fields that are cropping up southeast of Canton. The potential candidates came from all over eastern Ohio.
Veterans received American flag stickers to wear on their lapel or shirt so they could be quickly identified by recruiters. Brown wants to target veterans because statistics show they are facing a tougher time finding jobs. Unemployment for veterans ages 20 to 24 has run as high as 27 percent.
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