Clark and Champaign county agencies team up for virtual job fair

This file photo shows an exchange at a job fair held in Clark County in 2017. A virtual career fair will be held next week targeting Clark and Champaign counties with the goal of connecting over 35 companies with jobseekers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bill Lackey/Staff
This file photo shows an exchange at a job fair held in Clark County in 2017. A virtual career fair will be held next week targeting Clark and Champaign counties with the goal of connecting over 35 companies with jobseekers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bill Lackey/Staff

Local agencies in Clark and Champaign counties are teaming up to hold a virtual career fair next week aimed at connecting jobseekers with employers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 35 employers have signed up and are looking to fill over 300 positions, according to Andrea Mitchell, with OhioMeansJobs Champaign County.

The virtual job event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 18, aims to connect jobseekers with the area’s leading employers, including Assurant, Yamada North America, Inc, and Woeber Mustard Manufacturing.

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The event will allow participants to create an online avatar and move around in a virtual space that is designed to simulate a career fair. Companies will have virtual booths set up that will have links to more information or allow for jobseekers to get in direct contact with a representative.

The job fair is free for both employers and jobseekers. Those participating are asked to upload their resume and qualifications as well as explore companies and open positions beforehand.

The virtual career fair is the result of a partnership with several local as well as regional and state organizations and agencies. Those involved include the Dayton Development Coalition, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education and JobsOhio.

Amy Donahoe, director of Workforce Development with the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said that JobsOhio is putting dollars behind efforts to have these types of job fairs throughout the state. The aim is to help employers who are having trouble filling open positions due to circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have employers that are actively hiring right now. But it is very hard when people are social distancing or are not able to connect (due to the pandemic.) This creates problems in terms of having a mass hiring event,” Donahoe said.

Donahoe said that the chamber has held several remote hiring events, however, they were with individual employers and were held over Zoom. She said that having a virtual career fair on their own would be too costly.

Marcia Bailey, with the Champaign Economic Partnership, said that ideas of having some type of virtual job fair began earlier in the year following a statewide stay-at-home order that was implemented in March.

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Bailey said her organization was looking at different platforms that would allow them to host a virtual event that would connect a number of employers with job seekers. She said to go through with those efforts on their own would be too costly.

However, conversations with the Dayton Business Coalition and the realization that JobsOhio was looking to hold these types of events as well as provide funding made a virtual job fair a possibility for Clark and Champaign counties.

The idea is to attract companies that represent what has been in-demand fields such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, financial services, food and agribusiness, information technology and logistics and distribution.

Registration for the event is open until Nov. 17. Those interested in participating can register at soche.org/vcf.

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