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If just one was hired

Dressed sharply and ready to impress, Carol Register arrived Saturday morning with a resume and hopes that someone will give her hope for a job.

Register was laid off from Southwest State Hospital in September, and Saturday morning’s job fair at the First Baptist Church was a possible ticket to a new future.

“I’m OK, but I’d rather be working,” Register said.

She is hoping to one day get into occupational therapy, and was looking Saturday for perhaps a truck driving job or driving a school bus—which she has the skills to do—and it will allow her a good-paying job and allow her to attend school toward her degree in occupational therapy.

“I want something that will hold me until I get the degree I want,” Register said.

While talking with Bainbridge College’s Valley Rogers Saturday at the job fair, Register said Rogers told her to report to the college on Monday so she can be signed up for classes.

Joy Burrell, Bainbridge College admissions program coordinator, said many potential students are interested in the truck driving program because it only takes eight weeks until they are licensed as commercial drivers.

“Our classes stay filled,” Burrell said.

Another popular program is nursing, but its requirements are more time-consuming, she said.

Tommy Wheeler, chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee of First Baptist Church, which organized the job fair, said 15 businesses and organizations showed up to accept resumes and perhaps recruit potential employees. However, some of those organizations actually had hiring freezes or no vacancies.

Wheeler said approximately 30 people signed up to talk with the businesses or organizations.

“There were a good many resumes,” Wheeler said Tuesday. “We ought to do it again in six months. If we had just one hired, that would be worth the effort.”

Decatur County’s unemployment for March was 11.8 percent, which was slightly down from February’s 12.6 percent. Last year, the unemployment rate for March 2008 was 6.3 percent.

Decatur County has the highest unemployment rate in the southwest corner of the state.