JEROME — If you need a job, the Magic Valley has plenty.

“You could take a graduating class, graduating this year, and have them all have a job at this job fair,” John Martin, plant manager at Commercial Creamery said. “Five hundred to six hundred people it sounds like if they all wanted to work in these types of jobs.”

Commercial Creamery was one of 12 employers who set up tables at the Manufacturing and Food Processing Job Fair last week in Jerome, held by the College of Southern Idaho Workforce Development and Training.

Job fairs can help the Magic Valley fill the numerous vacancies and give applicants a better chance of landing an interview, said Alex Wolford industry program manager with CSI Workforce Development.

“I think the problem is, with a lot of our online systems and processes it naturally weeds through based off of verbiage that we use,” Wolford said. “There’s not everybody getting in the door and having those opportunities where here we can have those face-to-face conversations.”

Online systems might pass on applicants without a college degree even if they have 20 plus years of experience, she said.

Meeting employers in person also provides an opportunity to clear any misconceptions.

“Food processing and manufacturing tend to get the reputation of just working on a line, and that is absolutely not the case,” she said. “There are a vast number of offerings from HR to marketing to engineering.”

CSI holds job fairs monthly, focusing on a different industry or applicant demographic each time.

In April employers included Cliff Bar, True West Beef, Riverence, BTR Manufacturing, Seastrom and more.

Job seekers who register in advance receive helpful tips on how to stand out.

“Some of that is making sure you bring your resume or how to introduce yourself,” she said.

CSI’s photographer Doug Maughan was in attendance to take free professional headshots.

Ryker Fenstermaker, HR and marketing manager for BTR Manufacturing, said they are looking to hire 10 employees currently, with a larger goal of filling 40 spots by the end of the year.

Hiring in 2021 was difficult, Fenstermaker said.

“I think it’s getting better, it’s been a lot easier the past couple of months,” he said. “We are still growing, very fast, so that’s intrigued a lot of potential job applicants.”

True West Beef will be looking to hire 275 people by the end of 2022, said Jill Murphy senior HR business partner. She said True West Beef will be opening their new 273,000-square-foot facility in Jerome later this year.

Job fairs humanize opportunities, Murphy said. Although True West Beef still encourages applicants to apply online, coming to a job fair allows applicants to grab a business card and quickly reach out if they have questions.

“It puts a face on it because there is a gigantic electronic void that’s out there,” she said.

The next job fair is May 19 and focuses on women in industry. Interested job seekers can register at workforce.csi.edu.

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Originally published on magicvalley.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.