SELMA, Ala. (WIAT) — Employers at Wallace Community College in Selma say they’ve been struggling to hire lately but hope job fair events like the one hosted Thursday will help turn that around.

Roughly 80 employers across 15 industries came out to recruit, including the Alabama Department of Youth Services. Personnel Assistant Byron Jackson says they have at least 20 openings.

For the 11th year in a row, Congresswoman Terri Sewell hosted the job fair to help her constituents connect with career opportunities.

“My expectation is that the people of this district who need economic opportunities and better jobs will be here today, showing up and showing out, because they know that everything begins with the dignity of a job,” Sewell said.

While Alabama hit a 2.6% unemployment rate in June, many cities like Selma have rates double or even triple that. Plus, Alabama’s labor participation rate is among the lowest in the country, leaving many industries still searching.

“Hiring people since the pandemic has been very hard. We are in need of nursing staff bad,” Director of Nursing Services at Diversicare Marilyn Smith said.

Smith says hiring has been difficult but she hopes the increased pay will draw more people to the job.

“We increased our salary over at Diversicare at Marion just over the last week or so,” Smith said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47.8 million people in the U.S. quit their jobs last year, many in search of better benefits.

“I’m actually looking to have some fairly good insurance and some retirement,” resident Genner Parham said.

Parham says she’ll be reading through the information she picked up today to see which jobs might be a match.

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