Residents of the area learn about potential job opportunities at Latrobe job fair

“Help Wanted” banners were displayed en masse Thursday at the Westmoreland County Community College Latrobe Education Center.

“That’s cool,” said Rebecca Davis of New Alexandria. “It came at the perfect time for me.”

Last year, Davis said she lost her job as an administrative assistant, where she worked for a decade, and recently got a job in another field, “but that didn’t work for me and I left.”

“I decided to start looking for a new job this week and saw in the newspaper that they had this, so I decided to come check it out,” Davis said.

Hoping to land another job as an administrative assistant in the nonprofit field, Davis showed up to a job fair with multiple copies of her resume and spent the morning meeting face-to-face with employers to discuss potential job opportunities.

Thirty-eight businesses from the area—including banks, breweries, contractors, health care facilities, hospitality centers, landscaping, community nonprofits, factories, nursing homes, and restaurants—set up tables at the Depot Street facility to meet with potential employees and discuss business opportunities.

Mario A. Dominic, whose job as a food processor for 16 years was wiped out at a community living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic, also attended the show with a backpack full of resumes.

“I’m really looking at anything now. I’m looking at all potential opportunities, and I think I’ll see what’s available,” Dominic said.

Dominic said his unemployment compensation benefit recently expired.

Randy Gunder, chief operating officer, and Kathleen Orr, director of ORRCO, a family-owned precision mechanic company that has been in operation for more than 75 years in the nearby town of Salem, said they were looking for potential mechanics.

“Business has been really improving, and we are looking forward to adding about 25 employees,” Orr said.

She noted that most of the company’s 25 employees have been working there for 30 to 40 years.

Gunder noted that business has been down for a few months during the pandemic, but “we’ve had workers paint the plant and do maintenance so we can keep staff.”

“We are really looking for anyone who is mechanically competent,” Gunder said.

Depending on qualifications, employees can expect to earn between $33,000 and $55,000, plus health insurance and a retirement plan.

Brad Hurrell of LawnRx, a unit lawn-fertilizer company with seven employees, said the company hopes to add two to three workers.

“I can’t explain it, but during the pandemic we have already increased our number of clients. With spring approaching, we want to add a few more garden technicians to our company.”

He said the starting salary for those jobs ranges from $17 to $20 an hour.

City Brewing in Latrobe, the former operator of Rolling Rock brewery in Latrobe, was also looking for 50 to 60 workers to add to its new warehouse and distribution facility at the regional industrial development company. Westmoreland Innovation Center in the town of East Huntingdon, according to HR representative Jennifer Dietrich.

The company employs about 250 workers in the Latrobe plant.

Starting salaries for warehouse, distribution and forklift operator locations have not been disclosed.

Brianna Tomac, president of the Greater Latrobe Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce, which co-sponsored the show with PA CareerLink’s office near Youngwood, said planning for the job fair began in November.

“We thought after Christmas and the holidays was a good time to have this kind of event with local businesses looking for workers and a lot of people would be looking to get back to work,” Tomac said.

There were 7,900 unemployed workers — adjusted for seasonal employment factors and defined as those still looking for work — in Westmoreland County in November, the last month for which the Department of Labor and Industry has employment data. That’s better than the 11,700 who swelled in the ranks of the unemployed in November 2020.

Paul Pierce is a writer for the Tribune Review. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@triblive.com, or via Twitter .

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