Hundreds of East Texans attended a Mega Job Fest hosted Thursday by WorkForce Solutions of Deep East Texas at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center.

Business Services Manager Monica Peters-Clark said the WorkForce Solutions was going to host four different events for its four industry sectors of high demand occupations in the region — manufacturing, transportation and warehousing; health care and education; general and business services; and retail and hospitality.

“Then we thought, what if we combined them? What if we used a four-in-one concept? That’s where the Mega Job Fest Came from,” Peters-Clark said.

Job seekers are directed toward an industry sector based on their background. The industry sectors included 10 to 20 different employers.

“I think it’s working out well,” she said. “Typically, when we have the job fairs, everyone is just mixed together, and the job seekers are just kind of wandering around. This way, they have more direct contact with their work experience, their background. It makes it easier on the employers, as well.”

Recruiters represented many different companies and offered job seekers the chance at different work opportunities. Some employers like the Census 2020 were hiring upwards of 5,000-plus people.

“Our mission is to help people see beyond their current situations to a better way of life,” Onshore Outsourcing recruiter Rhonda Musick said. “This is a rural area, so our focus is trying to bring all those tech jobs that we lost overseas back.”

Musick said the Crockett-based company is hiring people with no experience — only a high school diploma or a GED — and training them and offering free education.

This was Shaquoia and Olivette Finley’s first time at a job fair. They said it was a great place to find out what was available.

“Everybody has been so helpful and so open to talking about us and our interest,” Shaquoia said. “The set up’s been real nice, and everybody’s been real friendly.”

“Everybody is so nice and kind and very informative,” Olivette said.

Jerroderick Lenoir said he particularly likes job fairs because he can speak directly to people from different employers and find out exactly what the employers are looking for rather than searching around online.

Lisa Sanford and Daryon Cruz from A Pineywoods Home Health Care said job fairs are all about seeing people and being seen.

“We’ve gotten more applications today (in two hours) than we do in two days online for just the Lufkin area,” Cruz said.

For more information about WorkForce Solutions of Deep East Texas, visit detwork.org.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.