Lindsey Tavernia kept her options open when she arrived at a job fair Thursday at Pasco-Hernando Community College’s Dade City campus.
Tavernia, 29, out of work since she was laid off by the U.S. Postal Service in February, said she would consider “pretty much anything” in her journey to once again earn a paycheck.
“I’m a single mom,” said Tavernia, who lives in Zephyrhills with her 9-year-old son. “It’s been hard lately.”
She was among hundreds of job seekers who visited the fair and cruised from display table to display table to learn more about potential employment and education opportunities.
Some of the roughly 30 employers, colleges or technical schools participating included Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Sparton Electronics, Lowe’s, Massey Services, Jarrett Ford, Utopia Home Care, Saint Leo University, Rasmussen College, the United States Army and Two Men and a Truck.
The fair was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.
Bilirakis has hosted job fairs often over the past seven years, but this was his first in east Pasco, a geographic area recently added to his congressional district.
The congressman said he feels an obligation to try to bring people and potential employers together.
“These are tough economic times,” Bilirakis said.
The fair also gives constituents a chance to meet him and share their concerns, he said.
Bilirakis plans a veterans’ fair June 29 at River Ridge High School, where military veterans can get information about services available to them, as well as hunt for jobs. Singer Tony Orlando, who has teamed with Bilirakis for a veterans’ fair before, is scheduled to appear.
“He’s a huge veterans’ advocate,” Bilirakis said.
Although the college campus served as the venue for Thursday’s job fair, anyone could attend, not just students.
Sean Beckford, 21, of Wesley Chapel said he has been out of work about 18 months. He received a job-fair flier in the mail and decided to give it a try, collecting information from companies such as Integrity Resources Staffing and Two Men and a Truck.
“I’m looking for warehouse and light-industrial type jobs,” he said.
Beckford said he has applied to a number of companies online, but also tries the in-person approach.
“Sometimes I drive store to store,” he said.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office was among the employers advertising current openings. The office’s human resources department tries to get to job fairs when it can, though in recent years there hasn’t been much of a need.
“We didn’t really have positions open for awhile,” said Amy Todd, the sheriff’s office’s human resources director.
The office is looking for detention deputies and law enforcement deputies, but on Thursday was giving a special push for its openings for communications-center dispatchers, who start at $24,967 a year.
An orientation session for dispatch applicants is scheduled May 16, Todd said. More information is available on the sheriff’s office’s website at www.hernandosheriff.org.