The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce hosts Friday Forum: Jumping Back Into the Job Market, Friday, June 19th, from 10-11:15 AM via Zoom. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

Watauga County's unemployment rate moved from 3.7% in March to 11.1% in April, with the majority of the losses coming at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Layoffs hit all sectors of the local economy, moving many from job holders to job seekers.

The forum will address how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way employers identify talent, how those seeking employment can best package themselves coming off a COVID-19-related separation, and will detail which industries have started hiring and which will take a wait-and-see approach to reloading staff.

“COVID-19 related job loss impacted a large number of employees across a variety of industries within our local community,” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “Some of those affected are finding themselves back on the job market for the first time in years. We want to make sure those individuals understand how the nature of today’s climate has impacted the traditional job search. Our panelists will offer advice on interviewing virtually, how to properly frame a COVID-related job loss to your next potential employer, and what hiring managers are looking for in an age where in-person work may have a digital component as well.”

Panelists are set to include:

Tara Brossa, General Manager, Hampton Inn by Hilton, Boone

Hayden Gibson, Human Resources Manager, Hospitality Mints

Shelley Leder, Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist, Appalachian State University Human Resources

Susan McCracken, Director of Career Development and Economic Engagement, Appalachian State University

Kenietha Presnell, HR Operations Manager, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

Alyce Ratchford, Owner, Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar


Participants can click here to register and will receive Zoom instructions via e-mail once registration is complete. Attendees can submit questions ahead of time by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Questions can be asked using the Zoom chat feature during the discussion as well.

If you have questions, please contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..