People of different ages and experience levels packed a pavilion at the Merced County Fairgrounds, each with the same desire to find work in this tough economy. That includes Air Force veteran Lorraine Anderson. "It's a little frustrating right now to look for work because no matter how good you feel you put your hat on, it's still sometimes feel like it's just not that good."
It's also been difficult for Tammera Carson, who recently got her degree in social work. "It's just really hard to find work in that area but it's a passion that I have so I'm just looking now for anything that's close to that, or anything just for employment."
The One Step Forward Committee planned the job fair after more than 500 people attended its first one at a smaller building last fall.
Organizers say the need is daunting with the county's unemployment rate topping 19-percent. "It makes me sad that it's taking so long to get our county back to work," said June Osborn. "Because we have so much talent here, we have so much resources, and we're just not utilizing them."
But there is some good news -- several of the companies at the fair are hiring.
Jerry Salcido with Fisher Nuts told Action News, "Currently we are looking for inventory control people, quality control people, and forklift operators."
And many job seekers were happy to see several potential employers together under one roof.
Michael Herrera said, "I'm optimistic, totally optimistic, there's been some good contacts here and saw some good friends and things like that, and there's good opportunity here."
The One Step Forward Committee says based on the overwhelming turn-out at this event, it is planning to host another job fair, possibly as soon as this fall.