On Friday, Sept. 29, nearly 200 individuals met with potential employers, dropped off their resumes, and filled out applications at the CITC Employment Training and Services Department’s (ETSD) Career Fair. While ETSD has occasionally hosted job fairs in the past, this most recent fair is part of an effort to more regularly connect prospective employers with potential employees right here at CITC.
“Our goal is to make sure our participants always have an opportunity to find work,” explained CITC Job Developer Viola Smith, who — in addition to helping organize the job fair — has regularly brought individual employers to CITC for recruitment sessions where participants can ask questions and apply for jobs on-site. “It’s part of our aim to help our participants become sustainable and move to a place where they no longer need CITC services.”
By inviting employers to CITC to recruit employees, Viola has established several long-term relationships with local businesses, allowing CITC job coaches and employment specialists to promote current openings and providing a path to employment for participants seeking jobs. Already, these relationships have led to tangible results: Recent partner Wendy’s, the fast food restaurant, has hired two CITC participants, while the retail store Target has hired ten. Subway recently spent an afternoon recruiting people at CITC and interviewed at least 14 potential employees.
Other new partners like Walmart and bty Dental have begun giving presentations to CITC job coaches and to participants in CITC job skills and preparation classes.
“By bringing these employers in, we can make sure that our participants have a mindset of I want a job continuously, and we can demonstrate that there actually are employers out there looking for good individuals,” Viola said.
The Career Fair held in September was meant to help participants secure employment for the winter months, in particular. Twenty-seven employers attended, including Calista Corporation, UPS, Anchorage School District, Maximum Healthcare, and new CITC partner JCPenney.
“We have several seasonal positions in the store that are available and we’re looking to fill those so we can start ramping up for Christmas,” said Julie, a JCPenney representative attending the fair. “We’re absolutely finding some great candidates today.”
Lysette Mason, a CITC HPOG graduate, heard from her CITC case manager about the fair and came intending to find an administrative position in the medical field.
“Coming here really helped,” Lysette said. “I believe I have a couple interviews coming up, thanks to the fair.”
Other job-seekers like Cameron heard about the Career Fair spontaneously while visiting the Alaska’s People Career Development Center. “The staff there told me I should check out the fair today, so that was a good coincidence,” he said. “Today has been great — I learned about a construction school and I found out Lowe’s is hiring.”
In addition to the fair, ETSD also offered a Job Readiness fair that equipped attendees with resume help and interview practice. There was also a professional clothing drive to provide applicants with work-appropriate attire.
All three events have been such a success, Viola said, that ETSD is planning to hold another fair in the spring that will focus on seasonal work like fishing and tourism.
“Alaska gets so busy in the summer, with business that highlights the land and the culture of the state,” she explained. “We want to make sure our participants engage in that, too — they’re part of it because they live here, and we want to help them find those jobs.”