Belhaven Chamber hosts inaugural career fair

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Belhaven Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Beaufort County School and Beaufort County Community College hosted a maritime career fair at Northside High School on Tuesday (Oct. 3) where 360 students from either Northside High School or Washington High School learned about employment opportunities in maritime trades such as boat building, upholstery, seafood, marine patrol and marine science. 

The fair was hosted to help students see job opportunities in Beaufort County, and to help local businesses find potential employees. 

Alan “AJ” Jones, a member of the Belhaven Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said a common complaint among members of the chamber was finding people to hire. 

“We think a lot of students just know about all the great jobs they can do right out of high school,” Jones said.
“We’re hoping that if we can show a few of these students what kind of education Beaufort County Community College’s boat manufacturing school and jobs here that we retain some of our youth to stick around and work here,” Mark Gnagy, President of Belhaven Chamber of Commerce said. 

Gnagy said Belhaven is growing and he believes there will be “plenty” of job opportunities in retail, restaurants and boat building to entice young people to stay in Beaufort County. 

“There are people who want to stay in this region. We want them to stay in this region instead of moving away to find sustainable employment,” Dr. David Loope, President of Beaufort County Community College added. 

Seniors were the most interested in the career fair as some are still planning their futures after graduation, Jones shared. 

The career fair will continue next year with a possible focus on local agriculture and other types of industry important to Eastern North Carolina like transportation and healthcare.  

Businesses who were present Tuesday afternoon were Pungo Creek Marine Upholstery, Diamond N-D Rough Home and Marine Upholstery, NC Works, Xelevate, North Carolina Ferry Division, North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Parks, Plastic Ocean Project, The North Carolina Estuarium, Washington Crab, North Carolina Marine Patrol, Catfish Diving & Salvage Co., Honda Marine and Beaufort County Community College Boat Manufacturing program.