A job fair Q and A with Denise Rickell of BERC

A job fair Q and A with Denise Rickell of BERC
Denise Rickell, manager of the Carroll County Business/Employment Resource Center, or BERC. (Courtesy photo)

The Carroll County Business/Employment Resource Center, or BERC, is the county’s center for workforce development — they help match people to jobs.

BERC will be hosting its fall job fair from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the BERC office, 224 North Center Street, in Westminster.


The Times recently caught up with BERC Manager Denise Rickell to talk about what BERC does, the state of the labor market in Carroll County and how job seekers can take advantage of the opportunities at the upcoming job fair.

Q: BERC will be holding its fall job fair on Oct. 4, but for those unfamiliar with BERC, what is it that you do? Why and how often do you hold job fairs for instance?

A: BERC is Carroll County’s American Job Center, the workforce development branch of the Carroll County Department of Economic Development. Our goal is help adults and young adults further their careers by offering workshops, job training, resources, individual consultation and job search assistance. We are also a great resource to our local businesses who are in search of qualified employees or need resources to help develop their employees. Employment and job growth are important to Carroll’s businesses and to Carroll County’s future economic stability. One of the resources we offer both job seekers and Carroll County businesses is recruitment assistance by hosting job fairs. We hold a spring and fall job fair and smaller individual recruitment events throughout the year at the Business/Employment Resource Center.

Our fall job Fair scheduled on Oct. 4 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. is a perfect opportunity for people looking to work in Carroll County to meet and speak with hiring managers in one location. It is also a great opportunity for businesses to meet with hundreds of potential employees.

Q: What have been the biggest changes in the labor market in Carroll County over the past few years?

A: The biggest change is our low unemployment rate. This has created challenges for businesses in filling some positions since the candidate pool is smaller. However, it has created wonderful opportunities for job seekers since the competition is not as fierce as it is when the unemployment rate is higher. We are part of a very large regional labor market so typically businesses can find the talent that they need. There are also myriad local and statewide training programs that offer support and financial assistance to help train employees to meet market demands

Q: Are there jobs out there in Carroll that are going chronically unfilled, whether they are entry level positions people are not applying for or more skilled positions businesses are having trouble hiring for?

A: In recent years jobs in manufacturing and the trades have been difficult to fill. Some of these positions are entry level and some require varying degrees of skills. These jobs offer individuals who do not choose to go to college a great opportunity to start on the ground floor with a local company, learn skills on the job and grow within the organization. We are pleased to work with and support Carroll Community College that provides certificate programs and apprenticeships to help prepare all ages of individuals for these types of jobs.

On Nov. 16, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Carroll County Economic Development is co-sponsoring the first annual Manufacturing Career Fair at Carroll Community College to showcase local manufacturing careers and training programs to Carroll County Public School juniors and seniors and the community at large. Carroll’s manufacturing sector is growing; wages are typically higher in manufacturing jobs so there are great local career opportunities to share and explore.

Q: What types of companies will be recruiting at the job fair? Is it mostly trade work, for instance, or is there something for everybody?

A: We have a wide range of businesses who will be at our job fair with a variety of positions available. Some of the positions are assemblers, carpentry, cashiers, CDL drivers, customer service, direct support human services professionals, electronics technicians, equipment/machine operators, food service/hospitality, housekeeping, laborers, manufacturing, nursing, receptionist, sales, seamstress, warehouse and many more!

Q: What should people bring to the job fair?

A: No matter what position someone may be interested in they should bring an up-to-date resume. BERC is offering free workshops prior to the job fair on how to write a resume or update their resume. We also have staff, who are highly trained and certified, who are available to help answer any questions regarding their resume or how to prepare for a job fair.

Q: Is there anything about the job seeking process, or the hiring process for that matter, that you all at BERC have learned and wished more people knew about?


A: The job seeking process is not limited to sending out a resume or completing applications. It involves networking and the use of social media. Also, it is important to know that businesses are not only looking at what skills you have but, just as important, how you will fit in with the organization. Many businesses tell us that for most positions they are willing to teach some occupational skills if someone possesses a good attitude, strong desire to work and can communicate and work well with others! BERC offers workshops addressing those skills as well! All of our workshop information is online at