By Cody Owens
Hundreds of prospective employees weaved their way among the dozens of information tables set up by some of the area’s largest employers during Wednesday’s District 6 Career Fair.
In response to the recent announcement that Golden Flake will be shuttering operations at their Birmingham facility, Council President Pro Tem Crystal Smitherman partnered with Jefferson State Community College to host a career fair for the 175 employees who will be laid off in July.
The goal of the career fair was to connect these residents with local companies who are looking to fill positions, while also helping to provide a smooth transition for those affected by Golden Flake’s closure.
“When I heard the news about Golden Flake closing, my mind immediately went to the people in our community would be losing their jobs,” Smitherman said. “I’m honored to be able to partner with Jefferson State Community College so that we can help connect these residents with high-quality career opportunities.”
During her time on the Council, Smitherman has partnered with local companies on several occasions to help tap into the local workforce. Perhaps no career fair has had a bigger impact than the one held on Wednesday.
Jermaine Henner, a former Golden Flake employee said he was able to connect with several employers during the event. “This job fair has helped get me in touch with at least three companies that I am qualified for and that I have interest in pursuing,” Henner said.
“The factory is really just right down the street from where we are right now at the Memorial Park Recreation Center,” Smitherman explained over the hustle and bustle of people looking to apply for jobs. “I’d like to thank Jefferson State Community College for getting over 40 employers out here today and also the representatives from Utz for their assistance with this. I think it’s important for people to know when they are in a time of need their community is behind them.”
The employees who will be affected by the closure were able to attend the job fair without clocking out of their current position at the factory. When all was said and done, hundreds of residents, not just Golden Flake employees were able to leave having submitted applications and some even having interviews lined up in the future.
Updated on 5/26/2023 at 11:12 a.m. to correct a date