Montrel Bell has been out of work for about a month, but Thursday is a new day. He's confident he can find his big break at this Workforce Connection job fair.
"What kind of job are you looking for?"
"Anything that's available," said Bell.
He's like a lot of people these days. With a regional unemployment rate of 11.6 percent, among the highest in the nation, it's no secret the job market is tough.
"Whoever get a job should be grateful and appreciative for a job and don't quit," said Bell.
But Thursday's job fair offers a ray of hope. With nearly 50 booths covering a range of jobs and education opportunities, organizers say our local economy could be looking up just in time for the 500 job seekers scouring the tables.
"This year, the turn out among employers is higher than it's been in the last few years," said John Strandin with the Workforce Connection. "So I think that's a real indication that there are companies out there that want to hire."
Like trucking companies, but there's a crucial step job seekers need to take first.
"The work is out there folks just need the training, and that's where we come in," said Mark Sandoval, Rock Valley College Truck Training.
And when their six weeks of RVC truck training is up?
"After that work, they should have their license," said Sandoval. "Once they have their license in hand, boy, they can go to work."
Which is good news for folks like Bell who say they have all the necessary qualities to be a good worker.
"Show up on time, follow all the rules, and be there to get the job done," said Bell.