DEVENS -- The North Central Career Centers hosted a job fair at the Devens Common Center on Wednesday morning, with more than 36 employers represented, ranging from manufacturers, health-care companies, hospitals and temp agencies, offering employment in geographic areas from Gardner to Harvard.

The North Central Career Centers prides itself on connecting job seekers and employers. Job fairs are held every quarter in different locations throughout the region. The job fair in Devens is only the second held there, and the first since 2001, according to Business Service Representative Scott Percifull.

"We try to pick facilities that would be good for that particular area in that geographic territory," Percifull said. "Devens is as far east as we will go."

Percifull is responsible for recruiting employers for the job fair. He said the company also has smaller recruitment, offering employers an opportunity to interview a select group of hopefuls who fit the job description.

The fair had a turnout of between 400 and 500. According to Percifull, fairs held at the Gardner library typically attract 200 to 250.

"It's a win-win for both employers and job seekers overall," said Paulette Carroll, North Central Career Center director.

Before applicants enter the conference area, they undergo an assessment by the Career Centers staff to determine exactly what each individual's needs are. That way, training opportunities can be presented to them to make them more marketable.


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"The Career Centers offers an array of services," Carroll said. "We help them be the best they can be when they go out for an interview."

Carroll and Percifull said they have noticed that as more employers expand their businesses, thus needing to fill job positions, they are attending more job fairs.

Ashley Wright said that at her firm, the Davis Companies, there are a lot more employers hiring now than in 2010, and that the demand is particularly in the contract-to-hire market.

"It's a good balance," Carroll said. "Maybe a few years back, we had less employers participating because they weren't hiring. Now they are."

Just because there are more jobs does not mean seekers will apply to them all. Recent high-school graduate Ciara Randolph of Fitchburg. She is looking for a fun job that offers flexible hours to complement her upcoming college career.

"I'm just not going to settle for any job," she said. "The pay has to be right."

Other prospects, like Eric Studlien of Leominster, knows exactly what type of job he wants. He's looking for a manufacturing job in the medical field. Studlien has been looking for work for three months. Searching for jobs through temp agencies, networking and Internet to him was "slow."

Attending the job fair at Devens Commons offered Studlien some leads. While he realizes he is not the only applicant, said he feels good about the contacts that he has made.

"There's a lot of people looking for the same type of work, so there's a lot of competition out there," he said. "I hope my résumé gets me through the door. The rest is how you present yourself."

If a suit and tie does not impress employers, job seekers can always attend a job fair in their present work clothes -- that is, if they're in the armed forces.

The North Central Career Centers job fair is not just about employing the unemployed. It is about presenting opportunities to individuals and offering them the tools to better equip themselves in today's job market. Whether one is already working and looking for other employment options or enhancing their skills, job fairs are the place to be. 

To learn more about upcoming job fairs and participating employers, visit the North Central Career Centers website at ccncm.com.