State agencies help connect job seekers, local employers

Friday, October 15, 2004

Richard Pelikan lost his job three months ago after 14 years as a mainframe database programmer at Southeast Missouri State University. The 50-year-old Cape Girardeau resident was terminated when the school made a shift from mainframe to PC databases. That's why he was spending his Thursday afternoon on the sixth floor of the Marquette Tower at the first ever Southeast Missouri Career Center "Meet the Employer" luncheon.

Pelikan was one of 12 job-seekers who attended the luncheon, the first in a series of meetings to better introduce prospective employees to major local employers.

"I came to meet face-to-face with some local employers," Pelikan said.

Phil Wagoner, director of Mers/Goodwill Rehab Center -- which sponsored the event along with the Workforce Investment Board of Southeast Missouri and the Department of Workforce Development -- said the these events give potential employees a chance to meet the human resources staff of the area's major employers, find out how to get their foot in the door at each company and let them know what employers expect from applicants.

Susan Graeler, manager of human resources at Nordenia U.S.A. in Jackson, was in attendance to do just that.

"The right candidate must be willing to work and be part of a family," Graeler said. After introducing the company, Graeler provided step-by-step information about the company's application, hiring and training processes.

Pam Twiggs, 39, said she was impressed with the benefits and the room for promotion at Nordenia that Graeler highlighted in her presentation.

"Now I know more about how to apply," Twiggs said.

Graeler also described the characteristics that she looks for in an employee.

"We need somebody who comes to work everyday," Graeler said. "I do fire people when they don't come to work."

The Missouri Career Center will keep a file of each presentation so that future job seekers can also be prepared to turn in applications. The next presentation to go in that file will be from Luke Landgraf, human resources manager with Thorngate, LTD. He will be the featured speaker at the next "Meet the Employer" luncheon on Nov. 2.

335-6611, extension 137

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