Construction job fair gives hope for economic recovery

WICHITA, Kansas – The economic downturn a couple of years ago sent the construction industry into a tail-spin as many companies began to downsize as the demand decreased.

But as the economy has recovered and many companies here in Wichita are again looking to hire as work picks back up.

The first Constructions Career job fair took place at the Wichita Area Technical College campus Saturday afternoon.

About 500 people in total came out for the job fair.

More than 30 companies from across the area were there hoping to find some qualified applicants to fill their openings.

“Many contractors in town did downsize during the economic downturn, and now they are looking back to refill those positions,” said Humberto Jimenez, an employee of Conco Construction.

Jimenez says they can employ up to 175 people and are looking to hire people of all experience levels.

“We have so much demand that we are willing to employ people and train them to start a career in construction,” said Jimenez.

Joe Ontjes, Vice President of Marketing for WATC says in just the past year, construction employment has risen dramatically.

“This past May we’ve seen an 8-percent increase in construction employment in Kansas and that’s a sign of the rebounding economy,” said Ontjes.

Ontjes added that every dollar spent in the construction industry for projects leads to about a three dollar increase in the gross domestic product.

WATC plans to again work with various groups to put on another job fair before next spring.

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