More than 50 employers showed up at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College System's Leestown Road campus on Wednesday seeking employees for more than 1,400 jobs.
The response was overwhelming for one of the biggest regional job fairs in recent memory. Candidates and employer reps were elbow to elbow, with more streaming in.
Paula Barnes of the Kentucky Career Center-Bluegrass, one of the event's sponsors, estimated the crowd at more than 800 people.
Some applicants wore suits and career dresses, but one woman wore a bedazzled tank top, and plenty of men wore shorts.
Big Ass Solutions, formerly Big Ass Fans — had job prospects sign in on computer.
"I really love advertising and marketing," said Janelle MacLeod of Lexington, who works part-time at the Leestown branch of the college and checked out openings at Big Ass Solutions. "I was hoping to get back into a full-time job."
Xerox, which operates customer-service call centers in Lexington, told prospects that it had jobs starting as early as Monday.
"We're hiring from now to the end of August," said recruiter Jarel Moore, who was seeking technical support call center employees. "If I could get 50 to 100 applicants, that would be great. But I'm not going to let people pass me by. I've got an opportunity, a career."
"I probably have a few dozen jobs," said Christine Dallara-Jones, human resources coordinator for the Hyatt Regency hotel. "We have a lot of turnover with the season. We're trying to build our staff for the fall."
Other companies on hand included Time Warner Cable, 3M, Clark Regional Medical Center, state government (where a recently laid-off Lockheed employee checked out his possibilities), Lexington police and the Aaron's rent-to-own store chain.
At the table for Home Instead Senior Care, Jeff Sames wanted to see whether his skills were a match for the company, which provides home care services for seniors.
"I am working a position that has run out of money to fund my position," Sames said of his job at a local church. He has worked in ministry for 28 years.
Now, Sames said, "I'm trying to retool and see what else I can do. I know where my skills lie, and I'm good with people and large audiences."
Robbin King, a recruiter for East Kentucky Power Cooperative, had available positions including warehouse supervisor and demand-side program manager. Within the first hour of the job fair, she had found prospects for her warehouse jobs.
The big turnout for the job fair — with cars filling parking spots all over the sprawling campus — was rewarding for the fair's sponsors, which included the college, Commerce Lexington, the Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board and the Kentucky Career Center.
"Everybody's worked really hard to get it done," said Jeanne Scott, a workforce development manager at Lexington's Kentucky Career Center.