Aurora was a haven for job seekers Friday, as 55 companies participated in a job fair at the Prisco Community Center.
Carl Buddig and Company, a family-owned food manufacturer that recently purchased the old Butterball plant in Montgomery, had one of the longest lines of people eager to find out what positions were available.
“I was on the other side of the room when I saw the big line for Buddig,” Kartik Saraf said.
Saraf, 26, is working to become a certified public accountant.
“It’s a big company so I hope they will have some accounting positions,” he said.
The job fair was the third of its kind by Invest Aurora, a public-private partnership that provides economic development services for the city.
Development specialist Judy Dawson, responsible for business retention, conducts more than 100 business retention visits every year.
“Many of our businesses were telling us they were having difficulty filling positions. We started having job fairs to help our existing business fill those positions and help citizens of Aurora find jobs,” she said.
Invest Aurora partnered with the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce for the event.
Buddig, a food manufacturer around since 1943, had full-time jobs available from general labor to skilled operators.
“We have to fill about 300 positions before July,” said Maria Almaraz, who works in human resources for the company.
Almaraz said they spoke with about 150 people in the first two hours of the three-hour job fair.
“This is an expansion for the company. They are expanding rather rapidly. We are happy to be in Montgomery,” Almaraz said.
The company produces Buddig meats and private labels for Walmart, Aldi and Jewel.
The facility is roughly 280,000 square feet and Buddig plans to employ 300 workers initially and another 250 for its second phase.
“We officially started production April 4,” Almaraz said
Amazon was hiring seasonal positions for its warehouse sorting center in Crest Hill.
“We are hiring on the spot,” said Veronica Thomas, senior staffing coordinator.
She said the company filled roughly 8 percent of its local positions from the last two job fairs held last year.
“People will start out as seasonal workers but within 90 days they can become direct hires,” she said.
Marqus Fultz, 21, made a life-changing decision at the fair. Fultz signed up to start the process to enlist in the U.S. Army.
“I started out looking for work. The first booth I came to was the Army. I hope to enlist in July. It will be the best decision that I ever made. I would be supporting the country in a big way. It’s something I always have thought about,” Fultz said.
Oberweis in North Aurora was looking for sales representatives for its home delivery division, while Huntington bank was looking to hire tellers.
Along with employers, St. Augustine College provided interpreting services in Spanish and English.
“We’re impressed,” said Daniel Gonzalez, admissions counselor. “The room is full.”
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