By Stephen Barber
The ARCC on April 19 was humming as sharply-dressed employers representing 35 firms met with more than 600 job seekers for the annual HCC job fair. While seeking a job is nearly always stressful, unlike similar events in recent years job seekers this year have reason to hope that their local job prospects are improving.
The rate of growth in the job market, however, is not improving equally across the board.
According to data from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the top growth industry in the last two years is health care, with 19,000 new jobs. The second fastest growing industry in Maryland is the business and financial industries, with 12,000 new jobs. Computer specialists and the IT industry came in third with nearly 7,000 new jobs, and the service industry came fourth with nearly 6,000 new jobs.
The large growth of the healthcare industry was represented at the job fair by some of the area’s largest Healthcare providers. Elder care featured prominently among these employers with the areas largest elder care providers, Fahrney-Keedy, Somerford and Julia Manors, present at the fair. Meritus-Health, the largest healthcare provider in western Maryland and the top employer in Washington county, was also present at the job fair.
When asked what Meritus-Health’s objective was at the job fair, human resources representative Sarah Stottlemyer told The Hawk, “We are here to recruit people for full time nursing, phone clerical, medical imaging, and nutrition service positions. We are always looking for new hires for our facilities in the tri-state to fill positions ranging from nursing and radiology to clerical and housekeeping.”
Kimberly Hadley, human resources representative for Julia Manors, also said her company is hiring.
“Specifically, I am here looking for candidates to fill three full-time nursing assistant positions and one full-time resident nursing position at our Hagerstown facilities. We do have five other facilities in and around the area and we potentially always have an opening if the person is willing to move or commute.”
The business and financial industries were represented by First United Bank & Trust and SECU. Angela Flanagan, recruitment officer of First United Bank & Trusts, painted a positive picture of employment opportunities at the bank.
“We are looking for customer service type positions, such as bank tellers, for our local branches but we always have openings available if the applicant is willing to move for work,” she said.
The computer and IT industries only had one company, First Data, represent it at the HCC Job fair. First Data human resources representative, Amanda Heist, told The Hawk, ”First Data is here looking for job seekers interested in customer service positions. In the past, we have hired HCC graduates with computer and IT related degrees.”
The service industry was represented by Hollywood Casino-Charlestown Races and Marriott-Roy Rodgers. The entertainment complex currently is seeking to fill about 50 positions, according to a company representative.