The unemployment rate in parts of Eastern Kentucky is increasing as more businesses shut down, but a career fair is giving some job seekers hope.
With more and more companies going under due to the strain of the tough economy, people looking for jobs say they are starting to feel the pinch.
Benjamin Costello is filling out another application and hoping it's his luck day. He says this career fair at the Lees College Campus of HCTC is a good stepping stone.
"I met a lot of people, nice people who said they would give me a chance and I didn't think that was possible and they really lightened my day," said Costello.
Searching for a job for the last year, Costello says his biggest challenge is location.
"Not having many jobs in this area. It's really hard to find a job. There's places closing down and stuff and it gets harder and harder," added Costello.
Kim Barnes is the fair coordinator. The annual event brings in visitors from area high schools, the college campus and members of the community. She says the opportunities are there if you just look.
"A lot of people don't think outside the box. They think, well if I want to work at a hospital then I'm going to have to be a nurse or an x-ray technician, but that's not true," said Barnes.
Only a few vendors were actively hiring, but organizers invite industries that compliment programs offered at the school to give current and potential students an idea of the careers available in this area.
Organizers believe more than 300 people visited the career fair and left with possibilities.
The latest job figures show out of eight counties in the Kentucky River Region, only three have unemployment rates under the national average which is more than eight percent.