For Theodora Stephen and Pamela Lindsay, proof that the recession was ending in Maryland came about a month ago.
"The pendulum has swung the other way," said Ms. Stephen, head of Carroll County's office of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED). "We began hearing local employers say they were not getting the job candidates they need."
That surge in employment requests led DEED and the county's Job Training Partnership Administration (JTPA) office to begin planning a job fair, said Ms. Lindsay, JTPA's job development coordinator.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 11, at least 24 companies will be receiving resumes and interviewing candidates at the DEED office on Airport Drive, she said.
Nearly all the participating companies agreed to come within a week after the request letters were sent out, she said.
About five more are still waiting to make a final decision.
"We've been talking about a job fair for about four years," Ms. Lindsay said. "But it wasn't the right economic climate to do it."
About 2,700 letters announcing the job fair have been sent to unemployed people registered with DEED, Ms. Stephen said. Another 600 were sent to people a local company recently interviewed but did not hire, she said.
However, organizers said they hope the fair will also reach those who have given up looking for work.
"There are people who are frustrated, have given up and think times are still like they were six months ago," Ms. Lindsay said. "It's hard to get back into a positive, pro-active job search."
Ms. Stephen said, "These are people who have dropped off our records. Now is the time for them to come in."
Many of the jobs are in construction, light manufacturing and warehousing, the organizers said. However, opportunities are also available in office, sales and restaurant positions, they said.
"It looks like construction has picked up all over," Ms. Stephen said, noting that the surge has benefited supply companies such as Taney-Stair Products Inc. in Taneytown.
"They are telling us their work orders are unreal," she said.
Ms. Lindsay said participating companies should be hiring for up to 200 jobs that day.
"Some companies have 15 to 20 jobs to offer," she said. "I can't imagine that they would come here for just one opening.
"It's very time efficient for them to come here and see all these people that it would take hours to see in their offices."
Participants should bring current resumes, be prepared to fill out applications and be dressed for an interview, Ms. Lindsay said.
"Many companies are going to hire on the spot," Ms. Stephen said. "First impressions are the most important impressions."
DEED and JTPA officials will also being doing job screenings for local employers who cannot attend the fair and matching employment seekers with opportunities from across the nation, Ms. Stephen said.
"We are tied with the American's Job Bank, which lists jobs for the entire state and the country," she said. All the programs are free because they are sponsored by the state and federal governments.
"We can be a good brokerage for them," Ms. Stephen said.
Limited space still is available for companies wishing to participate in the job fair, Ms. Stephen said. In addition, employers may continue to indicate job openings for which they would like organizers to screen applicants, she said.
"This is our answer to how we are trying to help the community and be part of the overall effort to connect people with jobs and keep local business going," Ms. Stephen said.