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News: Campbell County Campus hosts first-ever manufacturing job fair

December 2, 2022

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

Even in a county with a low jobless rate, hundreds of job opportunities are available from a variety of manufacturers, attendees at a first-ever manufacturing job fair recently learned.

The event, hosted by Roane State’s Campbell County campus, drew a variety of students as well as those seeking better jobs.

“Everybody’s been talking about it (the fair),” said Marc Figueroa, a LaFollette resident who explored some of the job opportunities offered by the eight companies at the event.

The event was brainstormed by campus director Tracy Powers and Michael Magill with Roane State’s Workforce Development Office. Powers said it’s part of the community college’s mission to “positively impact the lives of those who live in our service area.”

“What better way to impact these folks than by helping them find a good paying job that offers health benefits and paid vacations,” Powers asked. She said she’s considering a similar event next spring with an emphasis on healthcare jobs.

“This is a great thing for the community,” said Roane State graduate Zachary Marlow, now a Campbell County Commissioner working on his master’s degree at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Representatives of companies ranging from Ace World Companies, which builds cranes and has a plant in Clinton, to DeRoyal Industries, which assembles surgical trays at its facility in LaFollette, were on hand to recruit workers.

Most positions featured on-the-job training. “We’ll train anybody,” said Jonathan Dye, with SL Tennessee, located in the Clinton/Interstate 75 Industrial Park in Clinton. The South Korean company makes a variety of vehicle components, has more than 1,000 employees and is frequently seeking new workers.

Campbell County Mayor Jack Lynch gave a thumbs up to the job fair. “This is a great idea and living proof that government and employers can work together to create opportunities,” he said.

William “Cuz” Blackwell, manager of the Ace World Companies plant in Clinton, said the company has 25 welders and needs to double its workforce. Starting pay is $18 to $25 an hour.

“This is a fun learning experience,” said Lucas Aslinger, a Campbell County High School student who visited the manufacturing job fair and was looking into welding jobs.

“We’re glad to have these employees in our area,” said Campbell County Deputy Mayor Randy Brown.

Also on hand were officials from the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Roane State students who were unable to attend the job fair are encouraged to explore employment opportunities using Raider Recruit at roanestate.edu/raiderrecruit. Resume and cover letter assistance is also available through the online tool.

For information on programs and other initiatives organized through Roane State’s Workforce Development Office, visit roanestate.edu/workforce.

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