There were plenty of opportunities to find a job last week when more than 25 regional employers had their eyes out for potential employees at the Job Fair at the Aspen Mine Center in Cripple Creek.

Hosted by the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, the fair reflected a variety of careers available.

“An employer has to have an open position to be here,” said Becca Tonn, communications manager for the workforce center.

Many of the employers were looking for just the right fit. “It takes a special person to be a Colorado Springs police officer,” said Officer Nicholas Ryland. “At times, we are spit upon and threatened. Some people might react so we need someone with verbal skills.”

The applicant must have some college education, but there is also a cadet program at the police department, Ryland said.

Among the health care opportunities were some offered by the Cripple Creek Care Center, whose human resources director, Susan Amiot, hoped to hire certified nursing assistants and offers a scholarship program as incentive.

For some lookers, the job fair offered a lifeline. “I’m in manufacturing and was laid off in January after 14 years at the company,” said Erik Hatlestad.

But Hatlestad wasn’t finding much luck in the manufacturing sector, so he was making the rounds that day. “I’m open.”

The sole breadwinner for the family, Hatlestad was just hoping to find something. “I’m coming off $50,000 a year to maybe an apprenticeship,” he said. “I’m taking a little bit of a hit and it hurts.”

That’s when Tonn stepped in. “We have a dislocated worker program and can help with résumés,” she said, inviting him to visit the Workforce office in Colorado Springs, where there are a number of services for job seekers.

Tonn offered advice about résumés as well. “His résumé was not appropriate,” she said. “The rules have changed. At the workforce we have people who can help with résumés that fully showcase their skills.”

Among the job seekers were juniors and seniors from Cripple Creek/Victor High School. For Alycia Jensen, who graduates this month and already has a job as a server/hostess at the Wildwood Casino, the proverbial grass might be greener.

“I’m keeping my doors open,” she said, after filling out an application for the Midnight Rose casino. “I need money to pay for my truck and my gas.”

Jensen, who appears to be an over-achiever, intends to attend Pikes Peak Community College in the fall and then transfer to the University of Northern Colorado to study chemistry.

While working and going to school, Jensen is a member of the Key Club and is on the school’s volleyball and basketball teams. She recently received a $5,000 scholarship from the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce and a $10,000 one from the Ute Pass Kiwanis Club.

In addition to employers, the job fair included organizations that offered resources for job hunters. “The fair has been successful; we’ve talked to a lot of people,” said Katy Conlin, program manager and GED coordinator for Community Partnership Family Resource Center.

The Independence Center had openings in the home health care division, including caretaking for people with disabilities

In Cripple Creek, PPWFC employment specialist Hank Nelson and outreach coordinator Brent Kennedy offer services at the Aspen Mine Center.

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