By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said unemployment nationwide fell to 9.0 percent in January, and the number of unemployed people decreased by about 600,000.
The statistics showed, however, that approximately 13.9 million Americans are still looking for work, and this Saturday, the Liberal Chamber of Commerce will be helping to further decrease that number.
The Chamber, along with the Hugoton Chamber of Commerce, the Students In Free Enterprise business club at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, the college itself, the Leader & Times, B107.5 and 102.7 the Legend, is sponsoring the Southwest Kansas Regional Job Fair.
Chamber director Rozelle Webb said many businesses have already signed up, with more to come.
“We have a dozen so far, but we have a number of others who say they’re going to.”
Webb said there hasn’t been a job fair in Liberal in three years, and with the state of the economy, the timing was right to bring businesses and potential employees together.
“The SIFE class at the college wanted to do this for their contest project,” she said. “We’re very happy to have the Leader as a partner with this and KSCB Radio and the college. The Hugoton Chamber is working on getting some Hugoton businesses over here. We will take anybody from Southwest Kansas across the state line into Oklahoma and Texas.”
Webb said the last job fair in Liberal was very successful.
“I don’t know how many booths we had, but we did have a lot of people come looking for employment,” she said. “We’re looking this year for a lot of people to come who are looking for jobs.”
Webb said applications will be taken until the Activity Center is full.
“You can pick up an application or have one sent to you,” she said. “I’ve e-mailed them to people. I’ve faxed them to people.”
Applications are also available in the Leader & Times, and they can be e-mailed to
Webb said the advantage to a job fair such as Saturday’s is the wide variety of job opportunities, and local employment officials will also be on hand to provide some of those openings.
“The Kansas Work Force will have job opportunities that have been turned into them also,” she said. “Businesses have sent information saying they have a job opening.”
Webb said the Chamber would like to have businesses signed up by Thursday at the latest in order to set up the Activity Center and assign booths. Prices are $100 for a single booth and $150 for a double booth.
“We’ve been advertising the job fair within a 100-mile radius of Liberal,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of people coming in looking for jobs. The Chamber’s just excited to be doing the job fair to help the businesses. With the way the economy is now, people need jobs, and businessess have job openings. If we can get them together, that would be helpful to everybody.”
The SIFE class will provide food throughout the day, and Mosaic will have Jumpy Monkey Coffee available for job seekers. Set up for the job fair is from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the Activity Center, with the fair itself running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the Chamber at 624-3855.