Rusk County (WQOW) - A county with a chronically high rate of unemployment takes action, and job seekers showed up to reap the benefits. Rusk County has had a harder time than most recovering from an economic recession. On Wednesday, something not seen in the county in over a decade took place.
Some people are looking for their first job.
"Well I'd like to work in marketing; I did a marketing internship when I was in Germany. Or in logistics or supply chain management," said Evan Newman, a recent college graduate living in Bruce.
Others are filling out applications with hopes of moving up the ladder.
"I have been moving around a lot with jobs the last couple of years or so. Trying to get something better," said Jacob Shultz of Chetek.
It's been over a decade since Rusk County held a job fair featuring multiple employers. On Wednesday, representatives from manufacturing companies were on hand, and job seekers could also explore opportunities in health care and retail.
"The unemployment picture here is somewhat baffling. Consistently we're always one of the higher unemployment rates in the region. Last April I believe it was 8.5 % May I think it's going to come out to 7.1. Yet we still hear from employers saying 'We can't fill positions.'," said Andy Albarado, Rusk County Economic Development Director.
The applications spread across the table are just a snapshot of what some job seekers will submit.
"I want to say maybe, probably forty or fifty? Something like that just for the summer and probably more than that. It's a lot of work, it's like having another job. But you have to do it if you want to find work," said Newman.
There are typically about 500 people in Rusk County who are unemployed at any given time. Through the first hour of Wednesday's event, there were about 100 people here looking for work.
"I think it's a good sign that the manufacturers in the area have rebounded and are hiring again and are growing. And we have a transition in the workforce going on with people leaving, a generation retiring, and new people coming in,” added Albarado.
Nearly 13 different employers were on hand for around five hours Wednesday talking with potential hires. Rusk County is hoping to make the job fair an annual event.