HAZARD — The Kentucky Telework Job Fair returned to Perry County Thursday following a successful year of placing job seekers with employment via the Internet.
This marks year two for the Kentucky Teleworks program, and this past year saw great leaps in job placement. Program officials hosted a job fair in Hazard at the LKLP Job Site last year that was attended by around 100 people who applied for jobs. And over the last 12 months Kentucky Teleworks has been able to put hundreds of people to work at large reputable companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Amazon, according to Josh Ball, program director.
Ball said that the jobs they are working with now are indicative of where they believe the economy is going in Eastern Kentucky. Leveling the playing fiends by working from home erases the need for physical infrastructure for a company to move into the area.
“Our goal is to turn this region into a telework hub,” said Ball. “We feel like the mountains of Eastern Kentucky are full of quality people. Companies that we are dealing with are pretty much looking at a human capital, so when it comes to people vs. people it finally levels the playing field.”
Thursday’s job fair saw many more people this year than last, which is due in part to thousands more being laid off from coal jobs across the state.
“Most of the jobs we are screening for today offer full benefits,” said Ball. “So especially with all the coal layoffs, a lot of coal miners are on unemployment benefits, but the big thing is they are losing those benefits for their families. We are seeing a lot of spouses and things like that.”
At last year’s job far, which was several days long, Ball said they saw about as many people as they had half way through just one day of this year’s. At the job fair they screened candidates to find the best fit for each job available. In this way they are offering the best people to companies for each job in hopes of having a high number being employed and then staying with the company.
“We were screening the day before yesterday in Manchester, and we just got an email that someone got a job with Amazon in two days,” said Ball. “A lady today got a job with Cincinnati Bell over in Johnson County. We have had two others get jobs with Amazon with week.”
While the job fair gives an opportunity to talk to someone with the program face-to-face, applying for and being screened for the jobs can happen anytime on their website, www.KentuckyTeleworks.com. Ball said they are always looking for more applicants, and the companies they represent are hoping to fill nearly 3,000 jobs by the end of the year.