PAXINOS - Three new vendors at Wednesday's job fair at Masser's Banquet Hall represented the wide variety of businesses looking for new employees or at least to market their brands.

Sunbury Motor Co. participated for the first time in anticipation of opening a Quick Lane service center at the former Sam Bressi Motors lot along Route 61 just east of Shamokin, said Michael DeFeo, marketing director.

DeFeo was chatting with applicants about positions in automotive repair and detailing while 260 people came through the doors.

"Being at an event like this is great exposure for Sunbury Motors, and it's a good event to support the chamber in their endeavors," DeFeo said.

He said he couldn't provide specifics on when the Quick Lane might open.

DeFeo and Harry's Grill owner Barb Kearns, another newcomer, also used Wednesday's job fair to talk and network with other businesses.

"You learn good marketing ideas and can connect with others and get your name out there," Kearns said. "It's a great event."

The third new participant, Safety Net Counseling, Mount Carmel, was searching for those with master's degrees to take therapist and behavior specialist positions.

"Right now, we have nothing in the entry-level area," said Cheryl Dressler.

She said since most of the funding for Safety Net comes from managed care outlets that are heavily regulated, staffing needs are more specialized.

'Steady stream'

At times, several people waited for an open chair to complete applications at the job fair, which was hosted by Pa. CareerLink Northumberland/Union/Snyder counties and the Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by McCann School of Business.

"It's been a steady stream today," said chamber director Sandy Winhofer. With the same number of vendors as last year, "it's another good outing," she said.

Vendors ranged from transportation companies and local warehouses to temporary staffing agencies and manufacturers.

The atmosphere among vendors was more cooperative than competitive. If someone was interested in driving trucks for Reinhart FoodService or Milton Transportation but didn't have the right training, they were sent to the table for Sage Truck Driving Schools, which offers CDL training. Sage, in turn, forwarded prospective employees to PHEAA, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, for information on education funding.

Education angle

Education, in fact, was a big part of the job fair and was represented by McCann, Triangle Tech and Luzerne County Community College (LCCC).

"In today's market, careers require some sort of degree or 60 hours of college credits," said Nicole Edmondson, director of LCCC's Northumberland Regional Higher Education Center. "That's why we are here."

"Education is the step to getting the better paying job you want and the career you are seeking," said PHEAA representative Marla Kane.

Retirement openings

Many of the employers said their staffing levels over the past few years have remained steady, but recent changes brought at least one firm to Wednesday's event.

"We've been very good about retaining our employees," said Sandra Hause, human resources specialist for International Paper's Mount Carmel facility. "Right now, we have some workers that have been there between 45 to 48 years and are now retiring, so we need to find good folks to replace them, and this has been a good event to get applications from them."

Other businesses and agencies taking part were, PA CareerLink, National Ticket Company, the U.S. Army, CSIU WATCH Program, HH Knoebels Sons Inc., PA State Civil Service Commission, Geisinger Health System, CSO Community Action Agency, Clear Channel, Strong Industries, Experience Works, Aerotek, Hope Enterprises, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Sundance Vacations, Manpower and Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation.