CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Dozens of employers came out for a job fair Friday at Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston looking for people who want to come to work. Filling those positions hasn’t been easy since the pandemic.

“I’ve been on unemployment for the last few months and so i’m looking for a new career,” said job seeker Breanna Neff. She’s looking for an opportunity that blends her needs and talents. “I’m trying to find a schedule that works for daycare so I can have more time with my son. It seems like everyone is hiring evening shift.”

Like many people, Neff said there were unique challenges when it came to working during the pandemic.

“Where my son was out of school it made it hard to balance schooling and work and everything,” she said.

Since COVID-19, many businesses have found it difficult to find enough people to fill available positions.

“The job market has actually switched since the pandemic happened. It used to be employer driven but now it is job seeker driven,” said Nick Nunnery, Business Services Representative for Region III Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County.

That can mean an opportunity for better pay even for entry level jobs.

“Many of our employers here today have actually adopted that method and increased wages to be more competitive and have more incentive for you to come out and find a job,” Nunnery said.

Buzz Food Service in Rand, WV is expanding. They are getting creative by offering an apprenticeship to help develop a workforce for their new facility.

“We offer a lot of opportunities both at Buzz Food Service and at the new facility as far as skill level and when you come in,” explained Annie Stroud, the Project Manager for Appalachian Abattoir. “But we are really excited about the apprenticeship program because it gives us an opportunity to not just say ‘here is a job’ but really prepare for a career in the industry.”

Close to 100 people stopped by for the job fair. There were also several groups offering training to those that may need new job skills to shift to a different career.