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OCALA (Sept. 28, 2023) – The journey that brought Sophia Sanford to the Marion County Fall Job Fair on Sept. 27 started nearly a decade ago when she graduated from Georgia State University.

“From that point, I was on the computer, on Indeed and every other online job board applying, applying, applying,” the 34-year-old Ocala transplant said. “And I had been to a lot of job fairs in Georgia, too, but I didn’t really get anywhere,”

But that changed when Sanford, who moved to the area five months ago, attended her first CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion job fair.

“The difference was like night and day,” she beamed. “Everyone was so open, so receptive, so honest … It is one of the best I’ve ever been to, very organized and everyone is very nice. I’m actually getting somewhere.”

Sanford was one of 231 job seekers eager to meet with hiring representatives from 34 area businesses – all with multiple, immediate jobs to fill.

Eager may be an understatement. The line of candidates waiting to get into event snaked down the hall and into the lobby at the Klein Conference Center at the College of Central Florida.

“Oh my God, this one is amazing and I’m not just saying that,” said Cynthia Perez, membership director for the Frank Deluca YMCA. “We’re always looking for people and the candidates we’ve met have been super amazing.”

Tisha Webber, HR director for Nash Plumbing & Mechanical, said the job fair drew in “a lot of people very eager to find jobs. It’s a great turnout.”

Tyler Smith, a 24-year-old native Ocalan, said he had been turning to LinkedIn and other websites to apply for jobs, but to no avail.

“No one was responding, so I came here because I wanted to talk to a real person,” said Smith, who graduated from Florida State University and was looking for an administrative position. By the time he left the event, Smith said he had met with 10 recruiters. “Trust me, the recruiters are here because they want to hire.”

While Ashely Anderson, 38 or Ocala, came to the job fair intent on meeting with just one organization, she described the event as “very lovely.”

“There are a lot of employers, they are all very friendly with a variety of positions.”

Over at the Hospice of Marion County table, Destiny Espinosa, talent acquisition specialist, was more than happy with the event.

“I love it, I think it’s great,” said Espinosa. “There’s definitely a lot of tables and a variety of industries …Traffic has been really great and we’re meeting really good people.”

Sincere thanks to the businesses that attended: ABCO Transportation, Auto Zone Retail, Best Buy/Geek Squad, Chick-fil-A, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Citrus Oral and Facial Surgery, City of Ocala, Fed Ex Ground, Fidelity, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Evergreen Private Care, Frank Deluca YMCA Family Center, HCA Healthcare, Hospice of Marion County,

iServ, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, Marion County Public Schools, Nash Plumbing & Mechanical, On Top of the World, Owens Corning, R+L Global Logistics, Rank Quality Restaurants, Right at Home Nature Coast, Salvation Army, Staff America, The Villages, TimberRidge Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, Tri-Eagle Sales, Two Men and a Truck, University of Florida IFAS PSREU Citra, Waste Pro, and World Equestrian Center.

Employers interested in taking part in an upcoming job fair or learning about hiring events tailored to their specific needs – all offered at no charge – should contact CareerSource CLM’s business development team at 352-873-7955 or 800-746-9950.

Fee-free staff assistance is also available to anyone unable to attend the job fair, or interested in receiving additional help, at any CareerSource CLM career center. The centers, located in Ocala, Lecanto and Chiefland, are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information about business and candidate services is available at

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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of CareerSource Florida and a proud partner of the American Job Center network. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is supported by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other agencies as part of awards totaling $6.9 million (revised annually). Unless otherwise stipulated, all statements, news releases, requests for proposals, bid solicitations and other applicable documents are fully funded from federal sources.

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and in Spanish. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Stay connected with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion on FacebookYouTube and LinkedIn

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