PEDI, DMACC career fair brings together manufacturing, health care opportunities

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Chris Roberts, maintenance training supervisor with Tyson, visits with Perry High School senior Miguel Sierra during a career fair on Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Hotel Pattee.

Miguel Sierra chatted with representatives from Tyson, Osmundson Manufacturing, Perry Lutheran Homes, Percival Scientific and more during a career fair on Feb. 18.

“Just the opportunities I can get here,” said Sierra, a Perry High School senior, of why he attended the career fair. “It just looks fun, a lot of the jobs here, something I want to do after high school. And maybe for the rest of my life.”

Eddie Diaz said connecting potential employees with the area manufacturing and health care industries was the idea behind the Perry Economic Development Inc. and DMACC sponsored career fair. Two sessions of the career fair were held on Feb. 18 and 20 at the Hotel Pattee.

More:PEDI, DMACC to host career fair on Feb. 18, 20

“The main goal is to help the local industries grow,” said Diaz in his role as secretary with Perry Economic Development. He also serves as the director of the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy.

Diaz added that four of the five manufacturing industries in town have announced expansions over the last year and a half and skilled workers are needed to fill jobs. 

Monica Scheib, left, and Paige Greiner visit with Orionne Turner at the Osmundson Manufacturing table during a career fair on Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Hotel Pattee.

Monica Scheib, a controller at Osmundson Manufacturing, said they have an immediate need for general production labor.

Scheib said some may not know Osmundson Manufacturing, or what they do, and the career fair was a good way to get information out to those looking for jobs.

Chris Roberts, maintenance training supervisor at Tyson, said he was there to find qualified applicants in the industrial trade area.

“It’s hard to get people in the trades,” he said. “It just seems like the public has been more keen on people getting a four year degree and the trades have always been overlooked. And I think now everybody is starting to learn that the trades are just as important, if not more so.”

The career fair offered Roberts an opportunity to talk about the 1+2 training program offered through Tyson and the Perry DMACC campus and to help identify qualified candidates for the program.

Kay Maher, coordinator for DMACC's Workforce Training Academy, visits with career fair attendees on Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Hotel Pattee.

Representatives from DMACC’s Workforce Training Academy were also on hand during the career fair to give information to attendees about tuition assistance programs, manufacturing certificates and more.

Kay Maher, coordinator for the Workforce Training Academy, said some people think of DMACC as only offering one or two year programs. The career fair, she added, was a way to help people understand there are other educational opportunities. 

“Our goal is to provide short-term training so that people can get the training they need and go out and start working,” Maher said. “We’re just another educational path that DMACC offers.”

Diaz was happy to see attendees go around the ballroom inside the Hotel Pattee to visit with each of the representatives at the career fair during the first session on Feb. 18.

Another session of the career fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday in the Hotel Pattee ballroom. Social distancing and mask procedures will be in place.

“What we’re trying to do here is connect people to these manufactures and then also offer training through the Workforce Training Academy,” Diaz said.

He encourages people to come check out the various employment and training opportunities on Saturday.

Orionne Turner and Jocelyn Kirchner visit with DMACC representatives Connie Hoffman, left, and Kay Maher during a career fair on Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Hotel Pattee.