Governor Bentley Announces Alabama Regional Job Fairs are Putting Alabamians Back to Work



MONTGOMERY (Governor’s Office) – Governor Robert Bentley received a presentation from Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington on the successful outcome of the Regional Job Fairs that are being hosted by the Department of Labor throughout the state.


Approximately one year ago, the Department launched an effort aimed at bringing down unemployment rates in counties with traditionally high rates.  By working with local government and education officials, ADOL was able to bring employers to these mostly rural areas and connect job seekers with jobs.  Over the course of 2015, five job fairs were held in Dallas, Greene, Lowndes, Perry, and Wilcox Counties.

“Putting Alabamians back to work is a key part of my Great State 2019 plan,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Anytime we have an opportunity to connect hundreds of employers with thousands of job seekers, everyone benefits. For an example, in Wilcox County the pre-job fair unemployment rate was 16.5%, now the post job fair unemployment rate is 13.5%.”

As of May 2016, four of the five underserved counties have experienced significant drops in their unemployment rates.

In 2016, laid off coal miners and steel workers dominated the headlines.  ADOL took a more targeted approach and conducted two job fairs in the West Alabama area, aimed at helping these workers get back on their feet.  More than 1,500 job seekers turned out to meet with over 100 employers.

Additionally, a plan was put into place to bring the job fairs to the general public.  So far, regional job fairs have been held in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Birmingham, with attendance nearing 10,000.  Hundreds of unemployed Alabamians have found work through these efforts, and more regional job fairs are scheduled throughout the year.

Following the Montgomery job fair in February, Todd Butler landed a management position at Home Depot. “I was out of a job, been looking for a couple of months,” Butler said. “I couldn’t believe the amount of people at the job fair.” Butler was one of 3,300 people who attended the job fair back in February. He spoke to 30 companies that day with Home Depot being his top choice. He says the new job has brought a new challenge and new focus to his life. “It’s limitless,” Butler said. “Home Depot is the largest home improvement company in the world. So, there’s only upward to go from here.”

“With each job fair we host, we are finding more and more interest, both from employers and job seekers,” said Washington.  “People are eager to put their best foot forward and find meaningful employment, and employers are constantly looking for great employees.  We are pleased to be able to offer these services free of charge and are always looking for new and innovative ways to help Alabamians go back to work.”

Four additional job fairs are scheduled for 2016 in the following areas: in August a Maritime Job Fair will be held in Mobile, in September job fair will be held in the Wiregrass Area, in October the Governor’s Disability Summit will be held in Birmingham, and in November a second job fair will be held in Montgomery.

For more information on seeking a job visit Alabama job link.

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