Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium recently held four separate career fairs for the counties of Cheboygan and Presque Isle, Alpena and Alcona, Otsego and Montmorency, and Crawford and Oscoda. Over 150 employers were represented with hundreds of job opportunities available. Overall, job seeker turnout was lower than last year, at 298 attendees, but to date over 55 job seekers were hired as a direct result of the career fairs, as reported by employers.
Unlike prior years, Michigan Works! limited the first two hours of the 1pm-4pm fairs to ticket holders only, while the last hour was open to the general public. To be a ticket holder a job seeker had to attend a Career Fair Prep class. This free, 2-hour class offered at multiple Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium offices provided job seekers training on how to build a resume, interview coaching, proper attire for the career fair and more. This preparation was requested by employers, as many attendees came unprepared in previous years. Of this years’ 298 attendees, 171 had attended a Career Fair Prep Class.
Diana Czerkies of Northern Staffing in Gaylord commented, “I could tell that Michigan Works! prepared the job candidates well!”
Employer feedback was mixed about the new format. While they appreciated a more prepared group of candidates, most were hoping to see a larger turnout. Unfortunately, of 278 job seekers who attended a Career Fair Prep Class in the weeks prior to the fairs, only 171 attended an actual Career Fair. Perhaps it was because the Prep Class provided them the skills to obtain gainful employment prior to the Career Fair.
DNR’s Kristin Taylor was in favor of the mandatory Career Fair Prep Class, stating, “This format was great. We would have loved to see more interested faces, but it is so much nicer to see dedicated and prepared job seekers!”
Some contemplated whether the reduced attendance may be directly contributed to the area’s decrease in the labor force or even due to recent mass hirings at new area businesses (Meijer, etc), but overall most employers were pleased with the fairs and the quality of the attendees.
“The quality of prospective employees that came to the fair who had completed the classes offered through Michigan Works! was beyond what we are used to seeing at other job fairs. Good job!” said Mary Smuda from Tendercare in Rogers City.
The Cheboygan and Presque Isle County Career Fair was held on March 25th. Despite a late season snowstorm, 101 job seekers braved the weather to attend. Forty-four area businesses were represented with over 100 positions to fill. To date, employers have confirmed 46 hirings due to the fair. Mike Davis of Cheboygan said, “The prep class was very helpful. The event was pleasant, I met some new people, and got hired right away!”
The Alpena and Alcona County Career Fair was held on April 14th. Forty employers were represented and 66 job seekers attended. One employer remarked that hires he made at the career fair are among the best employees he’s ever had.
The Otsego and Montmorency County Career Fair was held in Gaylord on April 23rd. Fifty-seven employers were represented and offered over 530 positions available. Of the 70 job seekers in attendance, to date six have been hired as a result of the fair. Job seeker Peter Kremo commented, “Michigan Works! has multiple resources available, the career fair offered fast and efficient interaction with exhibitors.” Nancy Ashernfelter from Speedway in Gaylord stated, “This was a great opportunity for the community to get together and get great applicants. And 1p-3p was more professional looking and they seemed to know what they wanted.”
The Crawford and Oscoda County Career Fair was held in Grayling on April 28th. Thirty-one businesses were represented and 61 job seekers attended. One employer commented that the fair brought in qualified candidates who were well-dressed and prepared. Another noted that the person he hired last year from the career fair has worked out great.
Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium serves Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle counties. They provide free services to improve the region’s workforce, including programs for employers and job seekers. Under a variety of programs, they can help job seekers develop their resumes, gain job seeking skills, enhance their education, find employment, receive tuition assistance and expand career opportunities. They partner with businesses to develop recruiting and retention strategies. Learn more about how Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium can help you with your employment needs by calling 989.733.8548.