Job-seekers turn out for Medina employment event

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Pride Pak gets big response for new jobs

Provided photo – About 200 people poured into the Medina United Methodist Church in the first 15 minutes of a job fair this afternoon. About 15 businesses were on site during the job fair from 1 to 5 p.m.

MEDINA – The first-ever Medina Area Job Fair was packed with job hunters this afternoon. There were about 15 companies at the job fair, with Pride Pak drawing the most attention.

Pride Pak has a vegetable processing plant under construction on Maple Rudge Road. The company is eyeing Aug. 1 for the opening of the facility, but will hire staff before then for training, said Mauro LoRusso, vice president of finance.

Pride Pak expects to have 40 employees in the first year, and will hire for the production line, maintenance, clerical, fork lift operations, and janitorial. LoRusso said he was impressed with the long line of potential employees at the job fair.

“It’s more than I expected,” he said about the turnout.

Photo by Tom Rivers – Pride Pak Canada, which is opening a new vegetable processing facility in Medina, had a long line of job seekers looking for employment at the site on Maple Ridge Road. The following company officials are pictured at the Pride Pak booth today, from left: Mauro LoRusso, vice president for finance; Amanda Chronis, human resources administrator; and Angelo Karr, vice president.

Medina village officials pushed for the job fair with the Orleans County Job Development Agency. Michael Sidari, Medina mayor, said there are many companies in Medina looking to fill jobs, from technical skills to human services.

“There are quite a few jobs around,” he said.

Two extra tables had to be added after the job fair opened to accommodate people filling out job applications. Sidari was pleased to see so many residents show up.

“You get the feeling that people really want to work,” he said.

Kelly Kiebala, the Job Development director, said there at least 200 open positions in the county. The job fair included representatives from agencies that provide child care, transportation and housing. Kiebala said those agencies can help fill barriers to employment.

Sarah Levanduski-Surdel, client program manager for Adecco, has worked as a job recruiter for the past decade for Adecco in Batavia and Lockport. She said it is a tight labor market currently, with companies looking to fill many positions. The businesses have also boosted their wages, partly because of the increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $9.75 per hour.

“We don’t have enough people to fill all of the jobs,” she said.

Some people are still reluctant to start at entry level positions. Levanduski-Surdel urges people to take those jobs.

“You have to start somewhere,” she said. “The jobs are out there. Don’t be afraid to get some experience in a job you don’t see yourself in in 10 years.”

Sarah Levanduski-Surdel lives in Shelby and has watched the 62,000-square-foot Pride Pak facility take shape.

“Something new with new opportunities for people is awesome,” she said.