Komatsu employees to hold reverse job fair

COVINGTON - Jobs are being lost all over the country, with Georgia reporting a record unemployment rate for May. The impact of the economic downturn has affected the local job market as well, and one group of displaced employees is taking a proactive approach to finding new work.

Employees with Komatsu Forklift U.S.A. LLC are hosting a reverse job fair later this month: They're asking prospective employers to come to them.

About 150 employees will lose their jobs beginning in August as Komatsu reorganizes operations. Production at the forklift manufacturing plant in Covington will be transferred to an existing plant in Newberry, S.C.

Komatsu employees have banded together to organize a job fair to tout their skills to companies looking to hire. The fair is set for July 29 at Newton County Library, located at 7116 Floyd St.

"We have a strong corporate culture at Komatsu that puts personal relationships first," said Komatsu employee and job fair coordinator Lisa Brown. "We want to create a personal environment where companies can meet, network and interview members of our company family, many of whom have been with Komatsu for years."

Personnel attending will include managers, sales and service representatives and production assemblers.

Employers can speak informally with Komatsu employees or have a more in-depth discussion at private interview stations.

"We want to bring companies to meet our conscientious and dedicated employees who have served and supported Komatsu, but due to unfortunate circumstances will be left behind in a grueling economy," Human Resources Manager Sherry Coffman said. "Komatsu employees want to show future employers that we are proactive. We're the kind of people who care about the products we build and sell, but we also care about each other, each other's families, and each other's future."

Companies such as Cardinal Healthcare, Rollins, WinCup, GE Energy, Assertive Industries, Duro Tire, DeKalb Technical College and Georgia Professional Standards have already committed to participate.

"We are very excited that such prominent employers are interested in talking with our people," said Andrew Etkind, Komatsu's general counsel and director of human resources. "And we expect they will not be disappointed by the caliber of people and work ethic they will find. While this is certainly a challenging time, it is also a time of great opportunity to find real talent."

The event is free for participating companies. For more information call Lisa Brown at 770-788-3353 or e-mail reversejobfair@gmail.com.

Komatsu employees will hold another job fair in metro Atlanta in mid-August.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.