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Spring job fair blooms with opportunities

  • Florence resident Joan Simonelli speaks with a potential employer at Franklin Hampshire Career Center's 10th annual Spring Fling Job Fair, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Frontier Regional School. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Job seekers talk with potential employers at Franklin Hampshire Career Center's 10th annual Spring Fling Job Fair Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Frontier Regional School. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Job seekers talk with potential employers at Franklin Hampshire Career Center's 10th annual Spring Fling Job Fair Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Frontier Regional School. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • A sign for Franklin Hampshire Career Center's 10th annual Spring Fling Job Fair outside Frontier Regional School Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Frontier Regional School. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—



For the Gazette
Thursday, April 20, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Hundreds of job seekers mingled with 47 local employers Thursday evening at the Franklin Hampshire Career Center’s 10th annual Spring Fling Job Fair.

Among those job seekers was Florence resident Joan Simonelli, who has a job history so diverse she brought two resumes.

Since working with youths on an aid mission in Haiti about 15 years ago, Simonelli, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics and business, has worked as a zamboni driver, apprentice woodworker, energy adviser and assistant dean of students.

“I’m quite proud of it. We don’t all have to walk a straight path,” Simonelli said, sharply dressed in a business suit, portfolio in hand, as she stood among tables in Frontier Regional School’s cafeteria.

The premise of the event was simple: fit as many employers and job seekers as possible into one room and get them talking. It was an ideal setup for job seekers like Simonelli with an expansive background — and it was beneficial the other around way, too.

“For us, because we have a wide variety of positions, it’s always nice to get a cross section of job applicants,” said Thomas W. McMullin, executive director of Christopher Heights of Northampton, an assisted living community. “I’ve got maintenance, housekeeping, resident care, office positions, culinary positions — in a community like ours, it’s always nice to see people and talk with them.”

For Seyson Siow, a recent immigrant from Malaysia seeking a second job to “supplement my income for my children,” the personal aspect of the job fair was a big draw.

“Online is a bit tedious. (Employers) want a lot of information before you know if you’re a good fit for the company or not,” said Siow, a realtor who speaks three languages, including Chinese. “I find this is a good place to get information, and I also want to explore — is there anything out there?”