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Job fair brings in diverse crowd

A representative from the Minnesota Department of Labor & Safety speaks with potential job candidate Wednesday morning during the Greater Alexandria Area Job Fair. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)1 / 2
Two members from the Clean Drain Dry campaign listen as a job fair attendee scopes out potential employers at the Greater Alexandria Area Job Fair Wednesday morning. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)2 / 2

The Greater alexandria Area Job Fair returned to the Alexandria Technical and Community College Law Enforcement Gym on Wednesday morning.

A total of 52 businesses set up in booths around the gym to scope out potential new employees — a critical need in today's job market that has too many openings and not enough workers to fill the positions.

The job fair serves as an opportunity for people of all ages.

"I see a mixed bag all the time when I'm here," KX92 Program Director Michael Right said. "Obviously we see a lot of college aged kids but then we get some older people who are just looking for a career change."

The diversity of work spans a wide range. From radio salesmen to cheese factory technicians, the job fair has numerous career paths.

"Our company is actually growing," Colleen Gluth of the Valley Queen Cheese Factory said. "We have a $50 million expansion going on right now. I thought if I hit the tech school I could get some good employees this summer."

Gluth mentioned that she thought the crowd was different this year than in years past.

"I think it's a little slower and I think the crowd is a bit older than last year," Gluth said. "I've had a couple retired people come up and ask if we were hiring part-time work. Unfortunately, we are not."

The room was filled in the morning but as the day went on, the crowd dwindled.

"It's usually not as busy in the last hour of the day," Right said. "I think we see more foot traffic in the morning and I bet the other booths would say the same thing."

The job fair opened at 9 a.m. and shut the doors at 1 p.m.

The Greater Alexandria Area Job fair will return in the winter of 2020.