April 17, 2011
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
ICF International is an acronym for hope to the thousands of job seekers who attended the company’s job fairs Friday and Saturday.
“Probably more” than 2,100 applicants brought résumés and filled out applications at the events, Steven Anderson, manager of public affairs, said Saturday afternoon shortly before the fair ended.
“The rain didn’t keep anybody away. We had a constant stream” of applicants, he said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
The company now will start going through the applications/résumés to “match them up to the jobs” that are open, Anderson said. People advancing in the hiring process will be contacted within two weeks to schedule interviews, he said.
Georgia Wampler of Fieldale attended Friday’s fair at Liberty Fair Mall as ICF started taking applications for the first 100 jobs it plans to fill this spring.
Wampler said she has been self-employed as a nanny for the last two years after leaving part-time jobs at two other businesses.
“I need to find insurance,” she said, but she has been unable to find a job.
Wampler said she is hopeful ICF will hire her to do administrative or clerical work, but she also would work in the company’s outbound call center.
“This definitely seems like a good group to work for,” Wampler said.
As he waited in line to fill out an application Friday morning, Frederick Kirby of Danville praised the company’s advanced planning.
“They planned everything out logistically” for the job fair, with company representatives on hand and a method to keep lines moving quickly, Kirby said. ICF can “bring great things to the area.”
Kirby, who was self-employed and hopes to get a job, said the job fair gave him “the opportunity to show this company the skills I have to offer. Hopefully, my skill set and their objectives for this area are a match for longevity.”
Martinsville resident Jim Mottley said he has been unemployed since 2009, when GIS Commerce shut down its call center.
“I’ve looked into other customer service jobs, but don’t have the typing skills” of 45 words per minute, he said as he waited in line to apply at the job fair.
Mottley has visited ICF’s website and was impressed with what he saw.
“This is a global company,” he said. “They have a hand in” several business sectors, he added. “This is a professional company.”
On Monday, the Fairfax-based firm announced plans to invest more than $15 million in a new building in the Patriot Center at Beaver Creek industrial park and create 539 jobs here.
It will begin training its first 100 employees in a temporary, leased space in the Patrick Henry Mall, according to Frank Abramcheck, senior vice president of outsourcing.
Abramcheck said he was impressed “with the wonderful turnout” on Friday and by “the quality of résumés” people brought.
ICF ran a blind advertisement when it was considering locating here and received many quality résumés then, he said.
Applicants “are so welcoming and so interested in what we’re doing. This is an excellent turnout,” Abramcheck said, shortly before leading one group of job seekers though the application process.
Groups of applicants went into one of two rooms — the Career Hub or the former Waldenbooks storefront. They sat around large tables and filled out applications while company officials told them more about the company.
Abramcheck told one group that the first group of new hires will begin work in mid to late May, “as soon as we get broadband connectivity to our temporary facility” at the Patrick Henry Mall.
Applicants were encouraged to highlight any information about previous experience on their résumé “that distinguishes you from” other applicants, he said.
Applicants advancing in the first round of employment will receive calls to schedule interviews within about two weeks, Abramcheck said.
Résumés of those not hired in the first round will be kept on file, he added.
New hires will work in the areas of application/business processing of rebates, inbound customer service and outbound survey work. Employees also will be cross-trained to work in all three areas, he said.
ICF officials said the majority of employees will be hired from the local region; only two or three will transfer to Martinsville from other areas.
The leadership team for the new operations center also will be hired from the local work force pool, officials said.
The local operation will grow and grow rapidly, especially in 2012, a company official told applicants.
The new facility is expected to be completed in December.
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