EAST MANATEE -- Less than 24 hours after the Manatee County School Board approved its name change, Manatee Technical College hosted a job fair and open house Wednesday, looking to pair community members and students with local companies, while simultaneously showing off its 49 programs.
More than 200 people came through the doors of the main building at MTC -- formerly known as Manatee Technical Institute. More than 50 employers were on hand to talk to MTC students and community members.
"We want people to know we're here to serve the community," said Doug Wagner, MTC director. "Not just through education, but through employment."
Wagner anticipated higher attendance later in the evening as those who work jobs until 5 or 6 p.m. were able to stop by.
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MTC partnered with CareerSource Suncoast on the event. Employees from CareerSource held
presentations on company offerings and spoke to attendees individually.
The event served a dual purpose, said Martha Meyers, a businesses and industry services specialist at MTC. Community members interested in a job from a local company, but who lack the proper skills, can look into MTC programs to provide them with those skills in less than a year's time, in many cases.
"The job fair may draw people in, but the open house will keep them here," she said.
Students Jessica Stewart, Lauren Files and Diane Salter all volunteered to help inform others about MTC programs they enrolled in. The three took a break to wander past employer tables, gathering information from different places to work.
All three will graduate in June. Stewart, 20, is in the medical-assistant program, while Files and Salter, both 19, are in the orthopedic-technician program.
"We're one of the newer programs," Salter said, adding there are only seven students this year. Salter grabbed information packets from Coastal Orthopedics, which has locations in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota.
Air Products, a manufacturing company at Port Manatee, recently hired a handful of MTC welding students, said Jennifer Seavey, training coordinator. The booth attracted much attention.
Air Products is hiring mainly manufacturing technicians and welders, Seavey said. The open house and job fair help the company get the word out about its opportunities.
"It helps us reach out to the community and meet our needs by meeting the job candidates," she said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.