Nick Murdock, chairman of the Poinciana Economic Development Alliance, discusses the March 24 job fair during PEDA's weekly meeting. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

POINCIANA – The Poinciana Economic Development Alliance has decided to postpone a job fair that was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 24, until June 9 at the request of the employer that’s fueling most of the short term construction jobs coming to Poinciana.
“We debated whether to have this job fair at this time or not,” said Nick Murdock, the chairman of PEDA, a group that was formed last summer with the task of getting local residents ready for thousands of construction and medical jobs coming to Poinciana this year. “We had postponed this from January.”
The job fair was scheduled to be at the Poinciana Community Center at 395 S. Marigold Ave. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 24.
But Murdock said he was asked by Joanna Conley, the new COO of the Poinciana Medical Center, to postpone the job fair for a few months because the chief contractor on the project, Robins & Morton, needed more time before hiring begins.

PEDA scheduled this job fair because on Feb. 7, Osceola Regional Medical Center held a groundbreaking in the community for the new hospital that it plans to build here. Osceola Regional, the hospital in downtown Kissimmee, has already taken on subcontractors who will be hiring people to work on this construction project starting this spring. Several of them had agreed to attend the job fair, Murdock said when PEDA met on March 7 at the Poinciana Community Center.
“I have a commitment of 10 to 12 contractors at this time,” Murdock said. “We felt that was enough to go forward with the job fair.”
But he said Conley requested more time for the pre-construction planning to be done first.
“She really wants to partner with us on everything,” Murdock said. “They have asked for us to hold it at the end of May, or the first week in June.” The new date is Saturday, June 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Liberty high School cafeteria, 4250 Pleasant Hill Road. it’s expected to be the first of a series of regular job fairs that will be held throughout 2012 to connect Poinciana residents to specific jobs and career opportunities available in the community.
When the job fair does get a final date, people who attend are being asked to bring a resume. There will be a number of “trade” tables at the job fair, where subcontractors will be recruiting workers in numerous construction-related fields, including general labor; concrete and masonry; metals, woods and plastics; thermal, doors and windows; finishes – painting and wall covering; specialties; mechanical; electrical; and professionals and management.
There will be a table at the front door of the community center, manned by PEDA volunteers, who will have a general sign up sheet for the workers who attend.
“We don’t want to collect resumes,” noted Wendy Farrell, one of the members of PEDA’s board of directors. “That puts it on us to do something for all these people.”
Instead, she said workers should take their resumes directly to the subcontractors.
“We don’t want to be in the employment agency business,” Murdock added.
Still, the job fair was a central part of the reason why PEDA was formed in the first place. Murdock, Farrell and the other founders of the alliance knew that a host of construction jobs were coming to this community of 84,000 residents across Polk and Osceola counties, and not just because of the Poinciana Medical Center being built here, but also other projects like the widening of Poinciana Boulevard, the construction of a new toll road called the Poinciana Parkway, and the SunRail commuter rail station being built here. Last summer, Murdock estimated that these projects would generate up to 7,000 construction jobs, and PEDA wanted to ensure that as many Poinciana residents as possible would prepare for those jobs, apply for them, and find gainful employment in their own back yard.
Last September, PEDA held an informational fair to let residents know about those jobs and to help them write a resume or seek out vocational training so that when the jobs became available, they would be ready to apply for them.
Now, with Osceola Regional Medical Center moving forward with its plans to build a hospital, emergency room facility and medical office complex in Poinciana, the start of the construction season has finally arrived – and with it, those jobs that residents can apply for.
Because so many of the jobs will be related to the hospital, Murdock said, “We’ll have a table for medically-related jobs, because we know some people will show up looking for hospital jobs.” At the very least, he said, PEDA could provide them with information about the 200 permanent positions being created at the Poinciana Medical Center.
“We’ll have a registration table up front,” Murdock said. “Everyone who comes in will register and sign in. They need to put down the specific trade they’re looking for.”
For more information about the construction jobs that residents can apply for at the job fair, call Murdock at 407-565-0849.

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