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OC Chamber Job Fair returns April 4 to conv. center

(March 13, 2015) Ocean City has to work in summer and for that to happen plenty of people need to be hired into Ocean City establishments.

When the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce’s Job Fair debuted in 1985, the ideas were fairly simple: hiring people to staff restaurants, bars and the hotels that dominated the scene at that time.

But in the past 30 years the game has changed. A small yet significant portion of the jobs are professional, attendance has grown tenfold from the first year’s 400-600 attendees, organizers said and the fair has added educational and training services to the menu.

“The neat thing about this event in the 8 years I’ve been here … I’ve seen it evolve from just the summer jobs into the go-to place for employers for not just seasonal but year-round employment as well,” chamber Executive Director Melanie Pursel said.

The chamber, in conjunction with the city, sponsors the April 4 event, open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on 40th Street bayside.

“We have professional people come in with suits and briefcases and certainly the college kids as well,” Pursel said. “We try to provide a real diverse cross-section of the types of jobs Ocean City has to offer.”

There are, for instance, opportunities for hotel managers or people who want to take more responsibility than the front-line workers, Pursel said.

“The employers do expect you to show up prepared,” she continued, “and don’t forget a pen. Don’t ever go to a job interview without a pen.”

The businesses represented at the event are looking for and will find people who want to work, and the “competition can be fierce,” Pursel said.

Just because a certain place is hiring doesn’t mean it’s first-come, first serve.

“This is also an opportunity for the college kids who come down to get in face-to-face and get these jobs before the J-1 summer travel students (foreign students) come in because we need everyone. We need the J-1 students to fully staff Ocean City during the summertime, there really is plenty to go around,” Pursel said.

College and university students from overseas who are enrolled in accredited, post-secondary institutions and meet certain criteria can apply to work in the United States on a temporary J-1 visa. Ocean City employs a great deal of students from foreign nations during the summer.

There will also be employment seminars and training available, such as the alcohol training required by the state for hospitality employees, or the Maryland Workforce Exchange.

Registration is still open to all employers, not just members of the chamber of commerce. Members do get a discount on booths, but a portion of the non-member booth fee can be applied towards a chamber membership within 30 days of the Job Fair.

To register as a vendor, other than as a business that is hiring, a membership in the chamber is required.

The event is free for job seekers.

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