Secret from 040: Creating A Workforce Development Job Fair

This month’s podcast special guest is Matt Wavering, Director of Project Development for the Rockwall EDC. He shares how their annual community-wide job fair came to fruition:

We have a lot of different industries here, and rather than targeting a particular segment, I got them all together in the room at the same time, and I said, “Hey, guys. What’s your problem? What issues are you facing in your businesses?” And they all had very different, but all very similar problems, and a lot of that related to workforce. So we’re talking 2017, the economy has ramped back up in most of the nation, and it’s coming along very well in Texas. Unemployment’s very, very low, and the challenge is simply finding individuals willing to apply for jobs

With a dozen companies sitting at a table with me, they were representing something like 80, 90, maybe even 100 or more jobs that were available that were going unfilled not because they didn’t want to fill them, but simply because they couldn’t find anyone to apply for them. A couple questions came up. Some individuals, HR managers, asked me if we had ever considered holding a job fair. Although I was aware of job fairs that had been held individually by companies, hiring events, I wasn’t familiar with any type of job fair that was held on a community basis.

The feedback was outstanding. A lot of employers told me that they took over 100 applications at that event. So to me, it was perfect. It feels really good, as an economic developer, to have a company say, “Hey, you did what you said you were going to do and it was awesome and we’re really happy with the hires we made,” or to see a job seeker with tears in their eyes, high fiving you, that they just got a job offer and they haven’t had one in months and they’re so excited about the opportunity.

Long story short, we decided to make that an annual event.

To listen to the full episode of the podcast, use the player below:

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