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Community Job Fairs Take Care of Business

Amanda Ellis

Ask any HR department or talent recruiting consultant about the challenges they encounter in filling key spots and you’re likely to hear that recruiting top talent is tough. It’s always a matter of posting in the right place at the right time and hoping the right people see the opening and apply. 

Filling positions requiring specific knowledge and ability is particularly difficult when the percentage of the unemployed actively looking for work drops to 6 percent or below. The Hamilton County preliminary unemployment rate in December published at 5.1 percent. 

Low unemployment is a good problem, but it can leave some businesses hurting for skilled workers. As thousands of highly skilled jobs come online in the area over the next 10 years, finding the person with the right skills will become more challenging.

The Chamber’s Workforce Development team has operated successful College and Career Fairs for more than 10 years, providing an opportunity for more than 25,000 attendees to meet recruiters from multiple industries in one venue.  This extraordinary track record has led to a call for assistance from industries experiencing difficulty reaching potential employees through traditional postings and communications channels.

The Chamber team responded with a new model of community-based job fairs, using our network of workforce development partners to launch industry-specific community job fairs.  These job fairs have been held around the county in civic centers or community locations where underemployed or unemployed workers have ready access to learn about opportunities, apply onsite and speak with an interviewer on the spot or arrange a follow-up appointment.

Since July 2015, the team has held 12 community job fairs in 11 different locations, drawing more than 850 attendees. Almost 600 of those who attended secured interviews on the spot, with more than 200 others slated for future interviews.  That’s quite an opportunity for workers who may be passively looking, have limited access to online job advertisements or limited time due to current employment.  And it’s quite a communications feat for companies trying to get the word out about job opportunities.

Are you interested in learning more about hosting a job fair in your community?  Call Mattie Moran, Director of Workforce Development for the Chattanooga Chamber, at 423-756-2121.  

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