A total of 334 job seekers applied for positions during the 17th Annual Career Connection Job Fair Thursday.

There were 53 employers at the Hilton Garden Inn's Texoma Event Center to greet the hundreds of job seekers who went looking for work. There were employers from Dallas to Oklahoma recruiting at the event, which was put on by organizations including Workforce Solutions Texoma, the Sherman Economic Development Corp. and Denison Development Alliance.

Workforce Solution Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said the job fair was a very exciting day for Texoma businesses.

“There were several people hired on the spot — that was a good thing,” Bates said. “I think it is important because it gives job seekers a central place to come look for a job. In one day, you can see 50 employers, that's pretty good for a job seeker. It's exciting to us. We have employers who need people. Our goal is to have people find jobs and to help our employers be successful. You can't beat that. When you have a big group like this come together, it's very exciting, very encouraging.”

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She said there were a few new businesses that came out to the event for the first time. Bates explained there are always new industries coming in or existing businesses that haven't tried the job fair before, and she said the one condition for setting up is to be hiring.

“The end result is to raise everyone's quality of life,” Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai said. “The only way to do that is to bring in all these industries we work to bring in. When they get here, we've got to make sure we take care of them by giving them an opportunity to get people to come to work for them. There is no better feeling as a professional than seeing a person who comes here, gets an interview and starts supporting themselves and their family.”

Kaai said as he was walking around, he checked with employers on whether they were filling holes in their staffing or expanding, and he found many employers were adding positions. He also mentioned there was one new employer coming to Durant that was hiring for 140 positions.

De'Lesia McFarland was a job seeker who recently moved to Denison from southern Illinois with her husband.

“I am trying to find something different, I thought I would give this a shot,” McFarland said. “The people have been nice. We're used to small town living, this feels like a small town.”

McFarland said her goal was to find something in the clerical line of work as she was hoping to get out of retail. She said there were a lot of factories, which wasn't exactly what she was looking for, but she was impressed with the number of employers at the event.

Mark Kiefer was looking for sales representatives for Star Pest Control, which mostly serves Collin County.

“We're looking for self-motivated sales individuals,” Kiefer said. “It's a little bit of a drive but we're expanding this way. Our office is based in Melissa, which isn't very far from here. We're expanding this way and we plan to have some local reps. In a good economy, everything is competitive. Those who do a good service will attract good people. Those who are motivated will do quite well in sales.”