Merlene Davis: Jobs fair could be a big help for frustrated job-seekers

My youngest child was out of work recently for about two months.

At first, he beat the pavement every day, thrusting his résumé into hands of anyone who was hiring, or sending out information online. After about three weeks, he knocked on fewer and fewer doors, and applied less and less often online.

It was the longest time in years that he had not been a student or employed, and that situation slowly changed his countenance.

He had learned what many of us already know: We need a reason to get up in the morning, and we need to make a living.

The economy is gradually improving, but there still are a lot of people out of work, and there are a great many people who are working at jobs that don't pay enough to keep the family budget above water.

So while some in Washington have made a cottage industry of repealing Obamacare or magnifying another scandal, folks at the SHARE Center in Lexington are hosting their second annual jobs fair.

"We have been passing out flyers throughout the neighborhood," said Saburah Dixon, the center's executive director. "We have 13 companies coming, and one company is hiring 200 workers."

SHARE, an acronym for Services for Human Advancement and Resource Enhancement, is a social service and advocacy center for social justice that is sponsored and run by the Lexington Islamic community. Its programs are open to everyone.

Those programs include food and clothing banks, a computer room and classes, GED classes and employment services.

Located at 572 Georgetown Street, the center also hosts Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and a re-entry program for ex-offenders that offers help with résumé writing, job leads and appropriate clothing for interviews.

Dixon calls businesses and asks about their policy on hiring ex-offenders so clients aren't sent on fruitless searches.

"There are a lot of people who have been beat down and they are tired of ripping and running looking for jobs," Dixon said. "Even those who don't have charges are having a hard time finding a job. If we can be of assistance, then great."

The job fair is open to everyone, she said, not just ex-offenders.

Timothy Ellery, who works at the center while studying for his GED, said the jobs fair is a godsend for ex-offenders and for those who have grown discouraged with the job market.

"There are people out there willing to help you," he said. "It is so easy to get sidetracked. This is an option for me to take advantage of, and I've got to be smart enough to take advantage of it."

People make mistakes in life, said Ellery, a recovering alcoholic. The center is about helping people correct those mistakes.

"If you are coming from being incarcerated, the job fair gives you strength to get back on the horse," he said.

The jobs fair will be from noon to 3 p.m. in the Oteria O'Rear Community Center in Douglass Park, 726 Georgetown Street.

The 13 confirmed employers and employment agencies include Crown Services Inc., GTS Staffing, Lexington Clinic, Aerotek, Speedway, The Hamilton-Ryker Company, Dairy Queen and Home Instead Senior Care.

"Bring copies of your résumé," Dixon said. "If you don't have one, come to the SHARE Center soon, and we can help you with that.

"Dress to impress," she said. "There is plenty of work available."


What: SHARE Center's second annual Jobs Fair.

When: Noon to 3 p.m. May 30.

Where: Oteria O'Rear Community Center, Douglass Park, 726 Georgetown St.

Information: Call (859) 270-9402 or email