Duluth job fair connects jobseekers with local employersWhen Art Larsen went to the Northland Job Fair last year, he was recently unemployed and seeking any job that could pay the bills.
When Art Larsen went to the Northland Job Fair last year, he was recently unemployed and seeking any job that could pay the bills.
He found just what he was looking for: a position in his field of expertise at the Minnesota WorkForce Center in Duluth, the state agency that organizes the annual job fair.
“It was my first official day of unemployment and there was a job fair, so I think it was in the cards,” Larsen said. “I would have never seen this job through traditional means. If I hadn’t gone, it’s an opportunity that wouldn’t have happened for me.”
This year, Larson will go to the fair as an employment specialist and seek to connect other people with local businesses.
“I can lead with my story,” he said. “I can say these are the techniques I used and it worked for me.”
The fourth annual job fair will be held Wednesday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DECC’s Paulucci Hall. Veterans are welcome to enter the fair at 10 a.m. and spend an hour meeting with potential employers before the general public arrives.
It’s set to be the biggest year yet with more than 60 local businesses signed on as of early last week, according to Rhonda Rutford, business services representative at the WorkForce Center.
The fair was held at the Miller Hill Mall the first two years, but space eventually became limited. It moved to the Radisson Hotel last year and was supposed to be held there again this year, but had to be moved because of the hotel’s temporary closure.
“We moved to the Radisson last year and it was great,” Rutford said. “But with their flooding, they had to reaccommodate us. They’ve made sure the move has gone smoothly for us. We hope to be back at the Radisson next year, if we haven’t outgrown them by then.”
Local and regional companies from numerous industries will be represented at the fair, including some of the biggest area businesses and nonprofits such as Amsoil, Cirrus Aircraft, UnitedHealth Group, St. Luke’s and Essentia Health. City, county and state agencies will also be participating.
Many vendors will have applications available and human resources professionals on hand to schedule interviews.
Chris Jensen Health and Rehabilitation Center has been a primary sponsor of the fair all four years. Human resources director Colleen Conley said the event has been a good opportunity for the business to reach a large number of jobseekers.
“We actually have gotten some employees and have been really happy with the success with the job fair,” she said. “We just tell them about Chris Jensen and what we do and the opportunities available.”
Although unemployment numbers have been trending down recently, there are still a lot of people who can benefit from the fair, Rutford said. Many jobseekers over the past few years have had to settle for jobs outside of their chosen field or interests, she said.
“A lot of people took jobs that aren’t dream jobs,” she said. “They’ve taken what we call “survival jobs.” Maybe they’re looking for something else, and here they can see all of these employers in one place in one day.”
There will be other services at the fair as well. Human resources professionals will offer résumé critiques and personality assessments, which can help match people to potential careers.
The fair is an event that jobseekers should take seriously, Rutford said. That means leaving the pajama pants and kids at home.
“Look the part,” she advised. “It’s almost like a mini interview. If you visit with 10 employers, that’s 10 first impressions you’ll make. Maximize your time and effort, be ready and make the most out of it.”
IF YOU GO
WHO: Human resources professionals from more than 60 local and regional businesse
WHAT: Fourth annual Northland Job Fair
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. Veterans can enter the fair at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Paulucci Hall at the DECC
WHY: To connect jobseekers with potential employer
COST: Attendance and parking are free