(Diane L. Wilson)
"Wow, that's great."
Great for the Southeast Missourian-sponsored job fair -- which saw its largest turnout ever. Great for the St. Louis-based National Asset Recovery Service Inc. -- at the fair to judge interest in the opening of a new call center in Cape Girardeau. And great for the city itself, as new businesses consider opening here and established businesses consider expanding.
Some 1,000 people filled out applications for NARS, which could bring as many as 400 jobs to the area if the company decides to open in Cape Girardeau. Later, the job fair turned out to be a crucial factor as more than 850 people turned out to apply, convincing company executives to opt to open a call center here in the former site of Sears on William Street.
Along with NARS, some 50 other businesses attended the annual fair's fifth year. Salaries at NARS will range from $8.50 per hour to $50,000 per year.
The interest in NARS helped other businesses at the fair as well.
"NARS and Signature Packaging & Paper had a long line which helped attract more people to Thorngate," said Thorngate human resource manager Luke Landgraf.
This year's extended hours of the job fair had an impact on the businesses as well.
"This was the third time we have attended and the event was a big success, well promoted," Landgraf said.
Thorngate received about 20 applications from the fair and have already hired a few people.
Elite Travel and Cruise were new to the scene but thought it was an affordable way to meet and locate applicants. They received more than 100 applications and have already hired two people.
Businesses that have attended past years' fairs, like HAVCO Wood Products, also saw success.
Human resource manager Jill Braswell said the 2006 fair was the most successfull for HAVCO.
"I was doubtful about the job fair extending past 4 p.m. but I think it could have went to 9 p.m. and people were still pouring in," Braswell said.
Brian Gerau, center director at Sylvan Learning Center, said his business expected two to three applications but ended up with between 12 and 15.
"This year was better than last year because it was at Southeast Missouri State and there were more vendors there," Gerau said.
The job fair was a successful turnout and there were better quality of applicants available this year, says Gerau.
Allen Muster from KBSI and WDKA-TV, said he received more than 40 resumes from people of all ages.