People looking for work and companies looking for workers came together Thursday at the Celebrate Diversity Job Fair in Omaha.
More than 750 job seekers turned out at the Ramada Plaza near 72nd and Grover Streets, all in search of good jobs with good pay.
Officials with the job fair, hosted by The World-Herald and the Urban League of Nebraska, said 44 companies set up booths displaying brochures, pamphlets and posters touting their places of employment.
Representatives of First National Bank, Creighton University, Walmart and many others met with job seekers. Companies gave away sunglasses, squeeze balls, shopping bags, mini-backpacks and golf bag towels, among other items.
The job fair also offered workshops on résumé critiquing, navigating a midcareer change and how to avoid job dismissals.
A computer lab allowed job seekers to submit applications, and private rooms were set up for on-the-spot interviews.
Cheryl Walker, 54, of Omaha, a 10-year Air Force veteran originally from Brooklyn, said she was looking for work in human resources or customer service.
"I’m looking to expand my horizons,’’ she said, "do something different.’’
Also hoping for something new were Travis Davis, 27, and Jasmine Saunders, 21, both of Omaha.
Davis said Thursday marked his first visit to a job fair. He said he was a flexible worker who has experience in a variety of areas, such as warehouse work. Saunders said she had experience in customer service.
Travis Clark, a recruiter with Aerotek, a recruiting and staffing services firm with headquarters in Baltimore and an office in west Omaha, said he was taking resumes and offering tips.
Clark said Aerotek is a good place to work because "we’re the leader in staff recruiting in the nation.’’
Omaha area-based companies ConAgra Foods, Valmont Industries and Kiewit Corp. were looking for a few good applicants, too.
A.J. McLeay, a corporate recruiter, said Kiewit was hoping to hire workers for all types of jobs, from accounting clerks to directors of finance at its 34 district offices around the country.
"I think we have good success at job fairs,’’ he said. "We hire for everything.’’
ConAgra recruiter Meghan Caniglia was looking for finance and supply-chain workers at the company’s Council Bluffs plant. She said she was directing potential employees to ConAgra’s website for applications.
"There’s great opportunities for advancement within the company,’’ Caniglia said.
Valmont’s Lisa Lenz, a human resources generalist, said she also was urging applicants to apply online.
Lenz said Valmont had 42 openings at its Nebraska manufacturing plants in McCook, Valley, Columbus and West Point.
She said she was confident that Valmont would find many quality applicants at the fair.