Annual job fair set Oct. 3 in Rostraver
By Chris Buckley
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The first Mon Valley Job Fair was a community joint effort, created because there was a need, noted Patricia Brickner, administrator for the Pennsylvania CareerLink Mon Valley in Donora.
That fair was held in the Mon Valley Community Health Center in Monessen in 2001. It was the collaborative effort of Pennsylvania CareerLink Mon Valley, Mon Valley Initiative and the NAACP.
At that first fair, about a dozen companies attended. Last year, 58 companies attended and this year's event is expected to bring out about the same. Some businesses even come that day, looking to hire.
The 12th annual Mon Valley Job Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Willow Room in Rostraver Township.
“The need still exists,” Brickner said. “It's ongoing.”
According to Linda Jack, program supervisor with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership, over 11,000 visited the CareerLink office in Donora in the past year. That number was up roughly 1,000 over 2011.
Likewise, the job fair is growing. Last year, more than 400 attended the fair.
“We've grown each year so I would anticipate close to 500 people,” Jurik said.
Brickner said the job fair attracts a good variety of employers from health, manufacturing and transportation agencies to finance and retail.
Admission is free with paring and a bus shuttle service being offered at no cost.
All who board a transit bus anywhere in the Valley indicating a desire to go to the job fair will be transported to the transit authority's Donora office, from where they will be shuttled to the Willow Room.
The Mid-Mon Valley Transit Authority as well as Monongahela Valley Hospital have been gold sponsors of the job fair since its inception.
Those attending should be dressed for an interview and bring with them their portfolio, including copies of their resume and all credentials such as licenses, and school certificates.
“It's beneficial for employers because they get to see a face, not just an electronic resume,” said Debbie Keefer, executive director of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce.
A specialist from the Small Business Administration will also be on hand to help those interested in starting their own company, Brickner said.
Keefer said the fair booths are exclusively for companies looking to hire.
“We've done participant surveys and the number one response why they attend is they are looking for jobs,” Jack said. “So we limit it to employers.”
Pre-registration is not required. Attendees will sign in and receive an employer directory, which will include a table of where employers' booths are located and what types of jobs they are interviewing for.
“You should come with resume in hand, dressed appropriately and be prepared to interview that day,” said Shawn Jurik, out of school youth coordinator for Southwest Training Services.
A small business development center representative will be at the event to discuss A First Step workshop scheduled for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at CareerLink in Donora. First Step is designed for those considering starting their own business and includes educational events and workshops to help entrepreneurs start their own business – evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan, and exploring financing options.
At your First Step workshop, attendees will learn:
• What unique lifestyle requirements are involved in owning a business
• How to assess the feasibility of your business idea
• Differences between business organization structures
• How to develop a business plan
• How to obtain financing
• How to market your product or service
• The applications and licenses needed to start your company.
“That's something we added to the fair in the past two years,” Brickner said. “From our surveys, some people indicated they want to start their own business.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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