Job fair attracts large turnout

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The eighth annual Ohio Valley Job Fair was held Wednesday at the Ohio Valley Mall and saw heavy traffic of potential employees. Mike Schlanz, director of Belmont County’s Ohio Means Jobs, said the event has seen a steady increase in participation.

“It’s been a good day,” he said, pointing out that 118 employers had set up booths this year compared to last year’s 100. “It’s grown every year. There are just as many if not more people here than last year.”

Last year’s participation of prospective employees numbered close to 600. Schlanz said that number may be exceeded by Wednesday’s turnout.

Employers included oil and gas businesses as well as manufacturing and construction interests, sales, warehouses and other businesses in a broad cross-section of local industry.

Schlanz added that he has received positive feedback from people who have been hired as a result of the job fairs.

He also voiced appreciation to the Ohio Valley Mall for providing a venue.

“We’re happy to host this event for another year,” said George Diab, mall manager, noting the quality of employers and the opportunities they offer. “They’ve brought hundreds of people to the mall.”

He added that the job fair site, centrally located in the mall complex for the third year, proved convenient for job seekers interested in employment opportunities.

The county commissioners were on hand to observe the event’s progress.

“We are very excited about all the employers who are at the job fair,” said Commissioner Matt Coffland. “It’s just a good sign of what’s going on in Belmont County that there are job opportunities here. If you are looking for a job, Belmont County’s the place to be.”

He added that a presence of the event at the retail center of the county was also an advantage.

“With the job fair being at the mall, it seems like it has had a turnout a lot better than at our other locations,” he said. “There are great opportunities right now in Belmont County.”

Commissioner Mark Thomas noted that he has been involved in many prior job fairs and Belmont County’s event stacks up well.

“It’s a great thing for the county in and of itself, but most importantly it’s good for us to fuse our employers with prospective employees and it’s probably one of the least-known aspects of what a Job and Family Services does.”

He added that the agency’s connections and resources are invaluable to employers and job seekers.

“This is one of the most important things that it can do,” he said. “It’s great for us to lay the foundation for jobs to be created in Belmont County. I’m elated and proud of our staff, and I thank everyone involved for putting it together.”

Commissioner Ginny Favede complimented Schlanz for his efforts in organizing the event.

“He’s done an excellent job,” she said. “We anticipate quite a few Belmont County residents have the opportunity to land jobs. We are pleased to offer this service to Belmont County.”

She also noted the welcome environment and opportunities offered by the mall location.

“The move to the new location was genius,” she said.

For more job-searching assistance, visit OhioMeansJobs Belmont County at 302 Walnut St., Martins Ferry or call (740) 633-5627. The web site is

DeFrank can be reached at