A new venue is expected to help address a growing need in southcentral Kentucky as the Daily News and title sponsor Liberty Financial present a Career & Job Expo on Feb. 19 at the L&N Depot on Kentucky Street.

The expo, which will be from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., will feature nearly 30 vendors in an effort to connect employers and job seekers. It’s the second career expo presented by the Daily News, which held its inaugural expo last July at La Gala near Circus Square Park.

“We’re excited about the change in venue,” said Larry Jobe, director of sales at the Daily News. “La Gala was great, but parking was restricted. I expect to see more people come through this time.”

More than 350 job seekers turned out for last year’s event. South Central Workforce Development Board President and CEO Robert Boone believes the potential exists for a bigger turnout this year simply because of the need for workers.

The January Open Jobs Report from the JobsEQ labor market data company said the 10-county region has nearly 6,000 job openings and nearly 5,000 unemployed people. Events like the upcoming career expo can help address the need those numbers illustrate, Boone said.

“As many open jobs as we have in our region, all of our communities need to think outside the box for ways to help,” Boone said. “It’s great that the Daily News is getting involved. It’s going to take public-private partnerships to fill all the open jobs.”

Jobe said the Daily News’ goal is to help address a growing labor shortage by bringing employers and job seekers together.

“Our motivation behind doing this is to help local residents who are unemployed or underemployed,” Jobe said. “We’ll help them meet face to face with prospective employers.”

Jobe said the number of vendors is roughly the same as last year, but he said this expo will have a broad representation from retail, health care, manufacturing, food service, construction and more.

The new venue will allow Scott & Murphy to bring its “Career Caravan” trailer to the event to showcase its need for people skilled in construction trades.

“I anticipate some companies will do interviews on the spot and do some hiring that day,” Jobe said.

Jobe said this will be one of two career expos the Daily News will present this year.

“We’ll probably have another one in August,” he said. “We want to have them about six months apart.”

Boone said such events dovetail with the workforce development board’s schedule of events. It includes an international job fair Feb. 20 at Daymar College and monthly career connection events at the Kentucky Career Center locations in Bowling Green and Glasgow.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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